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captainccs
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« Reply #400 on: January 03, 2009, 09:41:22 AM »


One of the reasons that Israeli causalities  are Thank G-d so low is all Israelis homes/apartment  buildings etc.  have bomb shelters and Israelis in some towns in the South are  pretty much living in them..     My families in Israel shelter was their kids play room.   They also have a room that can be sealed  in case of  a biological attack.. Just because  Hamas   terrorists are ineffective mass murders does not mean they should be given a pass for wanting to be mass murders 

[emphasis added]



Rachel:

Thank you for a wonderful summation!


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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #401 on: January 03, 2009, 01:01:14 PM »

20:50   IDF ground troops trading fire with Hamas gunmen in Gaza (Channel 10)

20:49   Israeli cabinet okays call up of tens of thousands of reservist soldiers (Channel 10)

20:49   Cabinet decides to call up tens of thousands of IDF reservists (Ch. 10)

20:48   IDF troops exchange fire with Hamas militants in Gaza (Ch. 10)

20:44   IDF: Gaza ground incursion will seize some areas used to launch rockets (Reuters)

20:26   Israel launches ground offensive in Gaza (Channel 2)

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/ShowTickers.jhtml
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #402 on: January 03, 2009, 10:14:20 PM »

I suspect the impact of this schism has broad implications

Hamas moves on Fatah "collaborators"
Jerusalem Post ^ | Jan 4, 2009 0:32 | KHALED ABU TOAMEH

The Hamas government has placed dozens of Fatah members under house arrest out of fear that they might exploit the current IDF operation to regain control of the Gaza Strip.

The move came amid reports that the Fatah leadership in the West Bank has instructed its followers to be ready to assume power over the Gaza Strip when and if Israel's military operation results in the removal of Hamas rule.

Fatah officials in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that Hamas militiamen had been assaulting many Fatah activists since the beginning of the operation last Saturday. They said at least 75 activists were shot in the legs while others had their hands broken.

Wisam Abu Jalhoum, a Fatah activist from the Jabalya refugee camp, was shot in the legs by Hamas militiamen for allegedly expressing joy over the IDF air strikes on Hamas targets.

"Hamas is very nervous, because they feel that their end is nearing," a senior Fatah official said. "They have been waging a brutal campaign against Fatah members in the Gaza Strip."

Meanwhile, sources close to Hamas revealed over the weekend that the movement had "executed" more than 35 Palestinians who were suspected of collaborating with Israel and were being held in various Hamas security installations.

The sources quoted Hamas officials as saying that the decision to kill the suspected collaborators was taken out of fear that Israel might try to rescue them during a ground offensive. The officials claimed that at least half of the victims were killed by relatives of Palestinian militiamen who were killed as a result of information passed on to Israel by the "collaborators."

Justifying the latest crackdown on Fatah, a Hamas official in Gaza City said that his government had received information according to which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had instructed his loyalists in the Strip to start moving toward undermining Hamas.

"We will kill them all if they try to help Israel bring down our government," the official said. "We will hang Mahmoud Abbas and [former Fatah security chief] Muhammad Dahlan in the public square if they try to enter the Gaza Strip aboard Israeli tanks."

The Hamas official said that his security forces had launched a massive "preemptive" campaign aimed at thwarting Fatah's attempts to "spread anarchy and chaos." He confirmed that many Fatah operatives had been shot in the legs over the past few days by Hamas "to make sure that they don't help Israel."

Fahmi Za'arir, a Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, accused Hamas of "executing" a number of Fatah detainees. He said the Fatah leadership knew of at least two Fatah men who were shot dead by Hamas after being released from prison. He named them as Nasser Muhana and Saher al-Silawi.

Za'arir said that several Fatah members who attended funerals of victims of the IAF strikes were severely beaten by Hamas militiamen who accused them of collaboration with Israel.

It was "shameful" that Hamas was directing its weapons and energies against its own people instead of fighting against Israel, the spokesman said.

The decision to place Fatah operatives under house arrest was issued by the much-feared "Internal Security Apparatus," which reports to the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry in Gaza.

The order, which was delivered to the Fatah activists on Thursday, reads: "You are forbidden from leaving your home for 48 hours unless you want to attend Friday prayers. Anyone who violates the order will be punished."

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230733155685&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
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rachelg
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« Reply #403 on: January 03, 2009, 10:26:52 PM »

I suspect the impact of this schism has broad implications

35 killed and 75 wounded  is certainly a large number and could  have a big impact  but Hamas and Fatah have been killing each other for years

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Rimal_neighborhood_shootings#March_to_December

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/01/26/news/mideast.php

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2007/05/16/hamas-fatah.html
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #404 on: January 03, 2009, 10:42:44 PM »

Quote
35 killed and 75 wounded  is certainly a large number and could  have a big impact  but Hamas and Fatah have been killing each other for years

Granted, but usually it's been in a internecine context. Think it's worth noting that a Palestinian party is hoping Israel cleans house. In conjunction with the "collaboration" Egypt and Jordan are accused of, it suggests some pretty profound fractures in the Muslim monolith.
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JAK
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« Reply #405 on: January 04, 2009, 07:28:19 AM »




Special Dispatch - No. 2168
December 31, 2008 No. 2168
 
Alerts and Threats: Material from the Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor Project (JTTM)

The following are reports from MEMRI's new JTTM (http://www.memrijttm.org ). For future access to material on this website, you must register and pay a membership fee. Instructions can be found below.




Islamist Websites Call to Attack American, Israeli Interests

In response to the Gaza offensive, Islamist websites have posted many messages calling to attack Israeli and American interests worldwide. A member of the Shumukh Al-Islam forum, for example, called to attack American and Israeli embassies around the world, and asked for information about these embassies - especially in Europe, Asia and Arab countries - and for pictures of them. Fellow members explained how to find the embassies using Google Earth, and posted links to websites of U.S. embassies, among them the one in Maskat, Oman. A member of the Islamist forum Al-Fallujah urged Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to attack the Israeli embassy in Mauritania and the Israeli representations in Morocco and Tunisia.

Website of the U.S. embassy in Oman (one of the links supplied on Shumukh Al-Islam)
Posted at: December 29, 2008

 




IRGC Commander Threatens Takeover Of U.S. Diplomatic Representation

The Iranian news agency Fars reported on December 26 that during a conference of senior officials of the student Basij, held the previous day at the former U.S. Embassy facility in Tehran, Mohammad Ali 'Aziz Jafari, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), who is also in charge of the Basij militia, announced: "We want to prepare the ground so that if there is a need, the student Basij will take a step identical to that of 13 Aban [i.e. the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy by Iranian students]."

An attack on a U.S. diplomatic representation is an important subject of statements by senior Iranian officials. Although this statement at the conference can be viewed in the context of the possibility of the opening of a U.S. interest office in Tehran, which has been postponed for the present, it can also be seen as intimating at possible activity by Iranian forces against U.S. diplomatic representations worldwide.

Posted at: December 30, 2008

 


Islamist Websites Post Addresses of US and Israeli Embassies Worldwide; Call to Target Jewish Advisor of Moroccan King

In the wake of calls to attack U.S. and Israeli interests worldwide [1], the addresses of many of the US and Israeli embassies were posted in a threaded discussion on the Islamist forum Shumukh Al-Islam (hosted by TMIDC-MY, Malaysia). Among the potential targets mentioned by the forum members were the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Oman, and the Israeli embassies in Angola, Belgium, Cameroon, Egypt, Eritrea, France, India, Jordan, Mauritania, Nigeria and Turkey. In addition, a forum member posted a picture of André Azoulay, the Jewish advisor of the King of Morocco.

Furthermore, an article on the official Hamas website (hosted by Emirnet, UAE) called on Muslims to target "Zionists" all over the world, since "a Jewish adolescent boy in an Australian synagogue, a Jewish minister in the Georgian government, a Jewish businessman at the New York Stock Exchange, and an illiterate Jew from the Ethiopian desert… they all belong to the same gang and the same nation, apart from the rest of humanity."

Posted: December 31, 2008



Report: AQIM Plans New Year Kidnappings Of Foreigners Vacationing in Algeria

The Algerian daily newspaper Ennahar El-Djadid reports from "high-level sources in the security forces" that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is planning to kidnap foreigners vacationing in the south of Algeria over the New Year holiday.

The suspicions center on Illizi province in the Sahara desert, and specifically the city of Djanet, which draws thousands of vacationers from France and elsewhere every New Year's.

The brigade of the organization thought to behind the plans is commanded by Abdelhamid Abou Zaid, who was involved in the 2008 kidnapping of Austrian tourists and in the 2003 kidnapping of a group of European tourists.

Algerian security forces are taking measures to thwart any new kidnapping attempt.

Posted: December 23, 2008

 



Somali Jihad Fighter: 'We Will Establish Islamic Rule From Alaska and Chile to South Africa, Japan, Russia... To Iceland... Be Warned, We Are Coming'

 

An armed group battling Ethiopian forces in Somalia has told Al-Jazeera it will take its fight beyond the country once it defeats its rivals.

"We are fighting to lift the burden of oppression and colonialism from our country... We are defending ourselves against enemies who attacked us," Abu Mansoor, the leader of al-Shabab, said.

"Once we are successful with that we will fight on and finish oppression elsewhere on earth," he said.
Al-Shabab, meaning youth, split last year from the Islamic Courts Union which controlled much of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu, until it was pushed out by government and Ethiopian troops in 2006.

It has since retaken large areas of central and southern Somalia and is putting increased pressure on the transitional government, which exercises little control from its base in the town of Baidoa.
In Marka, just 90km from the capital Mogadishu, Ibrahim Almaqdis, one of the fighters, told Al Jazeera: "We wish to tell Bush and our opponents our real intentions.

"We will establish Islamic rule from Alaska and Chile to South Africa, Japan, Russia, the Solomon Islands and all the way to Iceland, be warned, we are coming."

Abu Mansoor said that Al-Shabab's ranks had been bolstered by foreign fighters and urged others to join, saying that a core principle of the group was that all Muslims be citizens of Somalia.
"Many have already died fighting our cause and many others are here with us," he said.

"We shall welcome any Muslim from any part of the world who wants to join us. We will allow him to wed our daughters and share our farms."

The group was created in 2001 by four Somali men who had trained in Afghanistan and is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S.

Source: Aljazeera.net, December 19, 2008

Posted: December 19, 2008


Registering For MEMRI's JTTM Project:

To register for MEMRI's JTTM Project, click here and fill out the form completely.


Please allow five to 10 business days for us to process your application; at that time you will be sent a secure link to use to make your membership payment.


During our initial launch phase, there may be a slight delay due to the volume of applications and also due to the holiday season. We apologize in advance for any delays.


Once payment is received, your account will be activated and you will have full access to the site.


Contact Information:

For more information about MEMRI's JTTM Project, write to JTTM@MEMRI.ORG ; for information about subscribing, write to JTTMSUBS@MEMRI.ORG.





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] See "Islamist Websites Call to Attack American, Israeli Interests", December 29, 2008, http://www.memrijttm.org/content/en/blog_personal.htm?id=615&param=APT&auth=a775ab44e63ac7eb4eafd2cd4d38da80

JAK
 
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JAK
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« Reply #406 on: January 04, 2009, 07:40:31 AM »

A little breifing on Hamas and Hizbollah.  Remember that the church that Obama was a member of openly supported Hizbollah.

  Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS)
    From: Country Reports on Terrorism, 2007. United States Department of State, April 2008. Print Page | Email Me
    Comments on the content of the material should be sent to the U.S. Department of State
 
 Other Names
Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya; Izz al-Din al Qassam Battalions; Izz al-Din al Qassam Brigades; Students of Ayyash; Student of the Engineer; Yahya Ayyash Units ; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Brigades; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Forces; Izz al-Din al-Qassim Battalions; Izz al-Din al Qassam Forces

Description
HAMAS, which includes military and political wings, was formed at the onset of the first Palestinian uprising or Intifada in late 1987, as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The armed element, called the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, conducts anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings against civilian targets inside Israel. HAMAS also manages a broad, mostly Gaza-based network of "Dawa" or ministry activities that include charities, schools, clinics, youth camps, fund-raising, and political activities. A Shura council based in Damascus, Syria, sets overall policy. After winning Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006, HAMAS took control of significant Palestinian Authority (PA) ministries, including the Ministry of Interior. HAMAS subsequently formed an expanded, overt militia called the Executive Force, subordinate to the Ministry. This force and other HAMAS cadres took control of Gaza in a military-style coup in June 2007, forcing Fatah forces to either leave Gaza or go underground there.

Activities
Prior to 2005, HAMAS conducted numerous anti-Israeli attacks, including suicide bombings, rocket launches, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks, and shootings. HAMAS, however, has not directly targeted U.S. interests, although the group makes little or no effort to avoid soft targets frequented by foreigners. The group curtailed terrorist attacks in February 2005, after agreeing to a temporary period of calm brokered by the PA, and ceased most violence after winning control of the PA legislature and cabinet in January 2006. After HAMAS staged a June 2006 attack on IDF soldiers near Kerem Shalom that resulted in two deaths and the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit, Israel took steps that severely limited the operation of the Rafah crossing. HAMAS maintained and expanded its military capabilities in 2007. In June 2007, HAMAS took control of Gaza from the PA and Fatah in a military-style coup, leading to an international boycott and closure of Gaza borders. HAMAS has since dedicated the majority of its activity in Gaza to solidifying its control, hardening its defenses, tightening security, and conducting limited operations against Israeli military forces. HAMAS fired rockets from Gaza into Israel in 2007 but focused more mortar on attacks targeting Israeli incursions. Additionally, other terrorist groups in Gaza fired rockets into Israel, most, presumably, with HAMAS support or acquiescence. HAMAS internal security efforts have centered on confronting threats to the group’s hold on power, including arrest operations against Fatah. In June 2007, HAMAS took control of Gaza, leading to a drawn-out struggle between HAMAS and supporters of Fatah. The majority of HAMAS activity in Gaza is directed at solidifying their control over Gaza and weakening Fatah through kidnappings, torture, and the use of the “Executive Force” as a de-facto security apparatus. The continued international boycott and perceived efforts to destroy HAMAS have increased anti-U.S. sentiment on the Palestinian street, a development that could lead cells affiliated with HAMAS to launch attacks, including suicide bombings, without the sanction of HAMAS’ senior leadership.

Strength
HAMAS probably has several hundred operatives in its armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, along with its reported 9,000-man Executive Force and tens of thousands of supporters and sympathizers.

Location/Area of Operation
HAMAS has an operational presence in every major city in the Palestinian territories and currently focuses its anti-Israeli attacks on targets in the West Bank and within Israel. HAMAS could potentially activate operations in Lebanon or resume terrorist operations in Israel. The group retains a cadre of leaders and facilitators that conducts diplomatic, fundraising, and arms smuggling activities in Lebanon, Syria, and other states. HAMAS is also increasing its presence in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, probably with the goal of eclipsing Fatah’s long-time dominance of the camps.

External Aid
HAMAS receives some funding, weapons, and training from Iran. In addition, fundraising takes place in the Gulf countries, but the group also receives donations from Palestinian expatriates around the world and private benefactors in Arab states. Some fundraising and propaganda activity takes place in Western Europe and North America.
 
 Hizballah
    From: Country Reports on Terrorism, 2007. United States Department of State, April 2008. Print Page | Email Me
    Comments on the content of the material should be sent to the U.S. Department of Stat
 
 Other Names
Party of God; Islamic Jihad; Islamic Jihad Organization; Revolutionary Justice Organization; Organization of the Oppressed on Earth; Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine; Organization of Right Against Wrong; Ansar alla; Followers of the Prophet Muhammed

Description
Formed in 1982, in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, this Lebanese-based radical Shia group takes its ideological inspiration from the Iranian revolution and the teachings of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. The group generally follows the religious guidance of Khomeini's successor, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Hizballah is closely allied with Iran and often acts at its behest, though it also acts independently. Although Hizballah does not share the Syrian regime's secular orientation, the group has helped Syria advance its political objectives in the region. The Majlis al-Shura, or Consultative Council, is the group's highest governing body and has been led by Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah since 1992. Hizballah remains the most technically capable terrorist group in the world. It has strong influence in Lebanon's Shia community, which comprises about one-third of Lebanon's population. The Lebanese government and the majority of the Arab world, still recognize Hizballah as a legitimate "resistance group" and political party. Hizballah claimed 14 elected officials in the 128-seat Lebanese National Assembly and was represented in the Cabinet for the first time, by the Minister of Water and Electricity Mohammed Fneish, until his resignation, along with other Shia ministers and Hizballah members of Parliament on November 11, 2006. Hizballah has reduced its overt military presence in southern Lebanon in accordance with UNSCR 1701, although it likely maintains weapons caches in southern Lebanon. It justifies its continued armed status by claiming to act in defense of Lebanon against acts of Israeli aggression. Hizballah alleges that Israel has not withdrawn completely from Lebanese territory because, in its view, the Shebaa Farms and other areas belong to Lebanon. Hizballah provides support to several Palestinian terrorist organizations that reject peace between Israel and its neighbors. This support includes the covert provision of weapons, explosives, training, funding, and guidance, as well as overt political support.

Activities
Hizballah is known to have been involved in numerous anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli terrorist attacks and prior to September 11, 2001, was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist group. In July 2006, Hizballah attacked an Israeli Army patrol, kidnapping two soldiers and killing three, starting the conflict with Israel that lasted into August. Since at least 2004, Hizballah has provided training to select Iraqi Shia militants, including the construction and use of shaped charge improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that can penetrate heavily armored vehicles, which it developed in southern Lebanon in the late 1990s. A senior Hizballah operative, Ali Mussa Daqduq, was captured in Iraq in 2007 while facilitating Hizballah training of Iraqi Shia militants. Hizballah’s terrorist attacks have included the suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, and the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut in 1984, and the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, during which a U.S. Navy diver was murdered. Elements of the group were responsible for the kidnapping, detention, and murder of Americans and other Westerners in Lebanon in the 1980s. Hizballah also was implicated in the attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992 and the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires in 1994. In 2000, Hizballah operatives captured three Israeli soldiers in the Sheba'a Farms area and kidnapped an Israeli non-combatant.

Strength
Thousands of supporters, several thousand members, and a few hundred terrorist operatives.

Location/Area of Operation
Operates in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and southern Lebanon. Has established support cells in Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Asia.

External Aid
Receives training, weapons, and explosives, as well as political, diplomatic, and organizational aid from Iran, and diplomatic, political, and logistical support from Syria. Hizballah also receives funding from private donations, and profits from legal and illegal businesses.
 
 
JAK
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captainccs
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« Reply #407 on: January 04, 2009, 07:53:13 AM »

Disconnect between journalists and their governments

When one reads a headline such as UK PM calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire  it gives the impression that this is calling for Israel to stop fighting. When the headline is part of a journalistic piece, the reporter sure makes it sound like it. But if you go to the actual interview, you see the disconnect between journalists and the government spokesmen.

Listen to this interview by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. I find it to be an eminently reasonable proposition but you notice that the BBC journalist asks why they don't put pressure on Israel to stop. "There has been no effective pressure on the Israeli side because they have gone ahead and done it in the first place." The journalist never bothers to ask the opposite question: "There has been no effective pressure on the Palestinian side because they continue to rocket innocent Israeli civilians."

Notice too the text right below the video:

Quote
Reports from inside the Gaza Strip say Israeli forces have intensified their military operation in the north of the territory, after crossing the border late on Saturday.


Why no mention of longer range Hamas rockets?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7810374.stm
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Denny Schlesinger
rachelg
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« Reply #408 on: January 04, 2009, 08:38:21 AM »

Operation Cast Lead: Background Briefing


This has a good introduction to the current conflict.  Many of you are probably familiar with the information but it might be useful to share with others. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UmVhvhFqic&feature=channel_page
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captainccs
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« Reply #409 on: January 04, 2009, 08:49:07 AM »

This comes from a very human Israeli blog. Asked How do you feel about this whole thing, here are part of her thoughts:

(Interestingly enough, there is no fear.)

But most of all, there is frustration. And that is what I offer up to the woman on the other side of the phone. There is the frustration involved in seeing the world’s reaction. What, because Hamas has either bad luck or lousy aim, the missiles they have been lobbing over for the last ten years do not count? There is the frustration in hearing that old, worn-out canard “disproportional response”. This is war, not a high-school judo match. Besides which, a proportional response would be to respond to each missile fired at us with an identical missile, sent with an equal level of concern for civilian populations. A proportional response would be to respond to each suicide bomber on a bus with an identical bomb (sans the bomber) on one of their buses. I could be wrong, but I suspect that such a policy would go over like a lead zeppelin at the UN.

There is the frustration in seeing the reactions of the left-wing and Arabs here in Israel. Where was your rage and where were your demonstrations when we were not attacking, and yet Hamas was sending missile after missile? You think that Hamas is so harmless? That their missiles are just homemade playthings? Put your money where your mouth is—go demonstrate in Sderot for a day or two.

There is the frustration in listening to a news report. Hamas has been broadcasting messages in Hebrew. “We are not afraid. We have lots of missiles”. Which they will continue to send from civilian areas. Because they prefer for more civilians to die. It makes for better propaganda. There is the frustration in reading the reports of bombs hidden in school grounds and mosques and of Hamas leaders sending their wives and children up to the roofs as human shields...and having that sick feeling that the far right may be on to something in its assertion that the language Arabs understand is force .

(Oh, please G-d, do not let it be so. If it is so, there will never be peace. )

There is the frustration in reading and hearing the world’s reaction…and knowing that the world is right. What is happening in Gaza is terrible. And there is the frustration of knowing that the world is right, but we are more right. The rockets have to stop. And really, the world does not give a rats’ ass about rockets falling on Sderot and the Negev.

There is the frustration involved in wishing, desperately, that there was another way…and not seeing one. Not when the other side is only interested in conflict.

The other day, I was witness to a conversation. Two men—both of whom did army service and still do miluim– were debating the merits of a ground operation. One held that it was the right thing to do. Go in, and get the job done. Even if the losses are high—it would be worth it. The other disagreed. Such high casualties…not worth it. The first man’s response: but is that not what an army is for? To fight?

He is right. And if we do not fight now, when will we fight? When the bombs start to hit Tel Aviv? This fight cannot be avoided, merely delayed. And why assume that a delay is in our interests?

(But then, I did not serve, and I have no one who did serve, so who am I to have an opinion either way? What is my opinion based on? This is also frustrating).

I am frustrated. I am angry. I am hopeful. I am worried. I am proud.

Most of all—and I do not say this to the woman on the other side of the phone— I am very, very sad.


http://myshrapnel.blogspot.com/2009/01/gaza_03.html
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #410 on: January 04, 2009, 10:54:00 AM »

Video is undated and unsourced, but appears to show Palestinian fighters using UN ambulances as troop transports:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=116_1231063776
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #411 on: January 04, 2009, 02:41:38 PM »

Israel, Gaza: Gaza City Cut Off
January 4, 2009 | 1800 GMT

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Smoke rising from Gaza CityIsrael’s Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip expanded dramatically overnight and into Jan. 4. Thousands of Israeli troops and scores of tanks and armored vehicles reportedly have poured into the territory.

From the Qarni Crossing, a second major Israel Defense Forces (IDF) thrust reportedly has pushed all the way to the Mediterranean coast, cutting off Gaza City from the rest of the territory. Airstrikes on two bridges have further cut off northern Gaza from the south. Sky News reported some 150 tanks and armored vehicles massing in the former Israeli settlement of Netzarim, southwest of Gaza City — a force potentially large enough for a limited raid into the city itself.





(Click to enlarge map)
Whether the initial thrust from the northeastern corner of the territory was meant as a feint or remains an important axis of advance is unclear. The IDF does appear to have breached the border with Gaza in multiple locations, however, and is moving to surround Gaza City. Artillery fire there continued Jan. 4.

With some 30 soldiers reported wounded, reported IDF casualties have thus far been light, though fighting has been characterized as heavy at times. And Israeli troops have yet to attempt to enter places like Gaza City, where fighting will be more intense. Hamas claims to have captured two Israeli soldiers, but Israel has denied the claims. There have not yet been any reports of Hamas using its rumored anti-armor capabilities.

On the Palestinian side, airstrikes and artillery fire continued to take a higher toll, with nearly 20 deaths reported Jan. 4 at of the time of this writing. The Gaza Strip remains without power, and communications infrastructure has reportedly taken a big hit as well.


A Jan. 3 airstrike reportedly killed Zakaria al-Jamal, a battalion-level commander of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al-Deen al-Qassam Brigades. Al-Jamal reportedly was in charge of artillery rocket-launching squads in Gaza City. Other airstrikes attempted to kill Hamas commanders Husam Hamdan and Muhammad Maaruf, though Hamdan was wounded, not killed, and Maaruf’s fate has not been confirmed. Hamdan was targeted in Khan Younis along with Mohammed Hilo, who reportedly supervised the fabrication and employment of domestically made Qassam rockets there.

Rocket fire from Gaza into Israel continued Jan. 4, including strikes by 122 mm BM-21 Grad artillery rockets. There reportedly have been roughly 30 strikes thus far on Jan. 4. This is more than the number of rockets fired Jan. 3, but still lighter than the reported 40 or more strikes of Dec. 31, the day Iranian-made Fajr-3 artillery rockets reportedly were first used. The Hezbollah connection and the potential for a possible northern front remain developments to watch.
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JDN
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« Reply #412 on: January 04, 2009, 03:09:26 PM »

Video is undated and unsourced, but appears to show Palestinian fighters using UN ambulances as troop transports:


Israel softens UN ambulance claim
 
The Israeli army picture alleged to show a Palestinian militant loading a rocket onto a UN ambulance
Israel's army is reviewing its claim that the United Nations allowed Palestinian militants in Gaza to use a UN ambulance to transport rockets.
An Israeli military official said an object seen in video footage might be a stretcher rather than a rocket.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has sent a team of investigators to look into the Israeli claims.

The UN relief agency chief in Gaza described them as "malicious propaganda" that endangered UN lives.

Peter Hansen demanded an immediate public retraction and apology from the Israeli government.

   
 The very idea that individuals with clear links to the Hamas terrorist network maybe on the Unwra payroll is totally unacceptable and should be properly investigated 
Dan Gillerman
Israeli UN ambassador
In a statement, the Danish diplomat said it was not the first time the Israeli government had "propagated falsehoods" against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa).

Mr Hansen said Israeli ministers had in the past declared that Unrwa ambulances were carrying body parts of fallen Israeli soldiers.

"When challenged to produce the evidence backing up this claim, or to retract the statement and offer an apology, the ministers in question were not able to provide any response and have remained silent," Mr Hansen said.

So far there has been no public explanation about Israel's re-evaluation of the video, but the army has removed references to it from its website.

An Israeli military official, speaking to journalists on condition of anonymity, said no definite conclusion had been reached about the matter.
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« Reply #413 on: January 04, 2009, 03:23:10 PM »

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Gaza's main hospital, already full of Palestinians wounded in the week-long Israeli air assault, reached critical mass on Sunday, according to a Norwegian doctor volunteering at Shifa Hospital.


A Palestinian father carries his wounded baby daughter into a hospital in Gaza City Sunday.

"We've had a steady stream [of patients] every day, but the last 24 hours has [brought] about triple the number of cases," Dr. Erik Fosse told CNN. "So this day has been extremely busy."

Fosse said he estimated that about 30 percent of the casualties at Shifa Hospital on Sunday were children, both among the dead and the wounded.

The increase in casualties at Shifa followed Israel's's ground incursion into Gaza, which it launched on Saturday night. Fosse said 50 patients were "severely wounded" when an Israeli airstrike hit a food market in Gaza City. 

"We were operating in the corridors, patients were lying everywhere, and people were dying before they got treatment," he said.

Palestinian medical officials said Israeli forces have killed 37 Palestinians -- both civilians and militants -- since moving into the territory Saturday night. With those deaths, at least 485 Palestinians, including about 100 women and children, have been killed since the military operation began more than a week ago, officials said.

In addition, 2,600 Palestinians have been injured, most of them civilians, officials said.

Most of the casualties are a result of the airstrikes that preceded Saturday night's ground incursion. Shifa is the main hospital in Gaza City. Other hospitals were unable to treat the wounded because of a shortage of supplies and staff.

Israel has said the military operation is a necessary self-defense measure after repeated rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas militants. Israeli leaders say they are trying to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza.

Last week, Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj, a psychiatrist who runs Gaza's mental health program, said Gaza is headed for "a major humanitarian disaster" unless the fighting ends soon.

Meanwhile, at the Gaza-Egypt border, nearly 25 trucks carrying relief and medical supplies were unable to get into Gaza because they could not get through the Rafa border gate, CNN's Karl Penhaul reported.

Egyptian authorities said the guards who were manning the Palestinian side of the border had abandoned their posts. Aid workers and drivers banged on the gate to protest the closure, but the gate remained shut. 
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« Reply #414 on: January 04, 2009, 05:33:41 PM »

Ah, JDN, it appears you feel folks who fire missiles indiscriminately into civilian areas and then hide amid their civilians during the response have moral standards so well developed they wouldn't stoop to use ambulances as a military transport vehicles. Some online are now stating that the video is from 2004 and shows Fatah using UN ambulances. As that may be, there is certainly a long history of Palestinian misuse of ambulances, as outlined here:

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Law/Legal+Issues+and+Rulings/Palestinian+Misuse+of+Medical+Services+and+Ambulances+for+Terrorist+Activities+13-Oct-2004.htm

As for your other post, perhaps Gaza hospitals would not be filling up so fast if Hamas wasn't launching missiles and managed to abide by the terms it accepted when Gaza was turned over. Perhaps you could ask Gilad Shalid what he thinks about the topic.
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rachelg
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« Reply #415 on: January 04, 2009, 05:41:35 PM »

Daniel Gordis was not everyone's favorite  author when I posted him before but I thoght this was rinstersting view of American born Israeli with two kids in the army. 
http://www.danielgordis.org/Site/Site_ViewDispatches.asp?id=22
 A Caterpillar and An Anthem
04 January 2009
We didn’t mean to, but we lied to our kids.

Almost ten years ago, shortly after we made aliyah, we were sitting with our three young children having dinner. One of the boys, still getting used to the idea that his life was going to be very different in Israel, looked up from his food, and asked out of nowhere, “Is Israel still going to have an army when I’m eighteen?”

He was scared. But we knew that he had no reason to be. “Yes, there’ll be an army,” we told him. “But there’s going to be peace by then. By the time you’re eighteen, everything’s going to be different. You’ll see.” I still remember how certain we were, and how relieved he looked.

A couple of weeks ago, on the Wednesday of Hanukkah, Hamas fired more than 60 mortars and rockets at Sederot and the western part of the Negev. The number was high, but the situation wasn’t new. The kids of Sederot have been getting shelled for eight years, with a dramatic increase since Israel got out of Gaza in 2005. The next day, Thursday, I was supposed to go to Sederot to visit my friend, Laura, to see some of the work she was doing on a new movie (about the music scene in Sederot, in which her husband is a leading figure). Despite the horrible weather, it was still a (Hanukkah) vacation day of sorts, and I asked the kids if any of them wanted to come with me. Talia, now in law school, had class and a massive amount of work. Micha, the only one still in high school, also had too much studying to do. But Avi, home from the army for a few days, said he’d happily come – he and I don’t get lots of hang-out time together anymore.

My tour-guide wife was out of town, guiding a family in the north. I figured that I should check with her before taking one of her kids and her only car to Sederot on a week like that. But she didn’t hesitate for a second. “Of course you should go,” she said. “Remember how we resented those people who wouldn’t come to Jerusalem when we were the ones under attack. Just drive safely, and be careful out there. I’ll be home for dinner.” I wasn’t quite sure how one was supposed to “be careful” in the car if rockets started falling out of the sky again, but I didn’t press the point.

A couple of hours later, Avi and I were in Sederot, at Laura’s house. The city seemed deserted, but it was hard to tell whether that was because of the previous day’s barrage of rockets, or the drenching rain that fell all day. The skies were quiet. But even on a day when rockets didn’t fall, it didn’t take long to see how utterly surreal life there has become.

Laura had a great, gigantic publicity poster for a classic movie on her living room wall. “Great poster,” I said to her. She told me a bit about the store in Jaffa where she’d bought it. “Is it an original?” I asked her. “They had originals,” she said, “and I was actually tempted to get one. But then I realized that it’s kind of absurd to buy anything of value to put in your house when you live in Sederot.” I tried to imagine what it would be like to live not wanting to have anything of value, knowing that your house could be obliterated almost without warning, because you happen to live within rocket range of a terrorist state that has no territorial dispute with you, but simply doesn’t recognize your right to exist, and never will.

After chatting for a while and seeing some of the movie-in-progress, we decided to go out to grab a bite for lunch. On the way to the café, Laura pointed out the neighbor’s house that’s now deserted because the owner moved away after a rocket hit it. She pointed to the traffic circle where a young boy had his leg blown off a few months ago in a different attack. And so on.

But what struck me more than anything on the way to lunch was the playground. Even in the pouring rain, it looked just like a regular playground, with jungle-gyms, swing sets and the like. There was even a colorful cement caterpillar – for the kids to climb on, I assumed. “See the caterpillar?” Laura asked me. “It’s hollow,” she said. “And see over there? Those are the openings. It’s really a bomb shelter. When the Color Red siren goes off [indicating an incoming kassam], the kids can run from the other parts of the playground into the caterpillar and wait there until the rocket hits.” (I asked Avi, sitting in the back, to take a quick picture, despite the rain.)

On the drive back, Avi and I got a chance to chat. It was absurd, we both knew. What Israel was (not) doing was beyond immoral. States have an obligation to protect their citizens, and we weren’t doing it. That, undoubtedly, was the sentiment behind the graffiti that we saw, claiming that Sederot should “secede” [the actual word, tellingly, was “disengage”] from the “pathetic state.”

Why should children living in uncontested Israeli territory grow up being taught that in the playground, when the siren goes off, you run into the caterpillar, and hope that the rocket doesn’t kill any of your friends who don’t make it in time? For how many years does a State have a right to ignore the citizens whose children, at the ages of eight and nine, are wetting their beds all over again, the sheer terror of the siren reducing their entire childhood to a years-long nightmare? For how many years dare Israel do nothing, as hundreds of families, terrified that the rockets will hit in the middle of the night, all sleep in the same room? What does it do to a family, and to marriages, when elementary and high school age children have been sleeping in their parents’ room on the floor for years?

How do you educate kids, my friend Ahrele (the principle of the high school in that region) once asked me, when the siren goes off (sometimes several times a day), and hundreds upon hundreds of kids cram the high school hallways desperate to get to a protected room but can’t move because all the passageways are jammed with students? And then, minutes later, when it’s over, how are they supposed to sit quietly and start thinking about their history class, or focus on geometry? “We didn’t finish the job,” Ahrele once said to me and Elisheva during a dinner at his home a couple of years ago, the sounds of exploding shells in the distance punctuating our conversation. “We didn’t show them that we intend to live here, no matter what. Really, when you think about it, this is just the latest battle in the War of Independence. It’s the battle for our right to have a place to live.”

He was right, of course. It was absurd for us to tell our kids that they wouldn’t go to war. Because if the War of Independence was about making it clear that we intend to stay and getting our enemies to acknowledge that we, too, have a right to a country and a normal life, then we’ve yet to win it.

So now, we have to try again. Some progress has been made. For thirty five years, Syria, Jordan and Egypt have all refrained from launching military attacks on Israel. Because they love us? Hardly. It’s just because they know that we will obliterate them if they do. Even when Israel bombed a nuclear-reactor deep inside Syria, Syria whined but did nothing. They’ve learned their lesson. Maybe Hezbollah did, too, the disasters of the 2006 Second Lebanon War notwithstanding. At this writing, at least, in the first hours of the ground war, they’re staying out of the present conflict. One hopes that they’re smart enough to keep that up.

But Hamas hasn’t yet learned, and because of that, our citizens have been suffering for years. So there is no choice but to fight this war, and to win it decisively.

On the Shabbat afternoon after our visit to Sederot, Avi’s girlfriend, who was at our house for lunch, suddenly got called back to her base. That was our first inkling that the war was starting. The next morning, Avi went back to the army, but to a different base. And by Sunday evening (the last night of Hanukkah), Talia, in the first semester of law school, struggling with a massive amount of school work and finally just getting the hang of it all, had been called back to her unit.

Quite frankly, I expected some tears when she told me that she’d been called up. How would she keep up with school? The vast majority of her classmates hadn’t been called up, so it wasn’t as if school would be cancelled. How would she ever catch up? What, I figured she’d want to know, was going to happen to her grades?

But when we called her downstairs to light Hanukkah candles for the final night, there weren’t any tears. What I saw on her face was steely-eyed stoicism. There was work to be done, she knew how to do it, and they needed her. So she was heading back to the army.

Suddenly, I remembered the night, long ago, when we’d told her and her brothers that the wars were all over, that peace was on its way. For a moment, I thought that I should apologize to her, tell her how much we didn’t know back then, that I was really, really sorry that this is how it is. That Elisheva and I didn’t have to go to college like this, and that I hoped that she wasn’t angry with us for having made the decisions that now mean she does.

But by the time I thought of saying something to her, the candles were already lit, and we were up to Maoz Tzur. We got to the last stanza, and I had my arms around her and together, we were all singing:

Chasof zero’a kodshekhah
Bare Your Holy arm and hasten the arrival of some salvation
Avenge the vengeance of your servant’s blood from the wicked nation
Ki archah lanu ha-yeshu’a
For real victory is taking far too long
And there is no end to the days of evil

There’s nothing new in this whole story, I was reminded. It’s what Jews have had to do for generations to stay alive, and it’s what the younger generation now is being asked to do, again.

So I didn’t apologize. When we were done, she went up to her room to look for the uniforms that she’d packed away someplace last year, assuming that after three years in the army, she wouldn’t be needing them anymore. As she climbed the stairs, I thought again of the caterpillar. And of the poster that had to be a replica because the house might come down. And of the kids still wetting their beds. And of towns that have known only terror for years after years.

Our kids don’t want an apology. They’d be appalled if one were forthcoming. Because they understand, perhaps better than we do, that this simply has to be done. What’s at stake is not Sederot. What’s at stake is the question of whether Jewish sovereignty means anything. One can – and should be saddened by the loss of life in Gaza these weeks, on both sides. But we dare not let caring about innocent human life among Palestinians, or even more understandably, our dread of what the casualties among the IDF may be, blur the urgency of what we need to do.

These weeks, with the question of whether or not Jewish sovereignty means anything at all, there is really only one question. As Joshua said to the angel (Joshua 5:13), “are you for us, or for our adversaries?” Do you believe that Jews in Sederot have a right to live without bomb-shelter caterpillars in their playgrounds? Do you think that parents in that whole part of the country have a right to sleep in their own room by themselves, and that nine year olds should no longer wet their beds, night after night, caught in nightmares that will probably hound them for life? Do you understand that the only point of having a Jewish state is that Jews should no longer live – and die – at the whim of those who hate us just because we exist? Do you get that Ahrele was right? That we’re still fighting for the simple right to have the world acknowledge that we have a right to be?

There’s only one question, and it is Joshua’s. Are you for us, or for our adversaries? There is no place for mealy-mouthed equivocation calling for an end to the “violence,” for that is nothing more than a euphemism for more years of Jewish kids living in dread and Jewish sovereignty meaning nothing.

Israel could well become a horribly tear-soaked country this week. But thankfully, we finally have leadership that seems to understand that what is at stake is the question of whether having a state changes anything at all about the existential condition of the Jews. At long last, they get it – if Jews still have to live in dread, for the mere sin of existing, then there’s really no point to any of this.

So pray for them. Whatever you believe, or don’t, pray for the thousands of kids out there doing what the Maccabees did – risking everything so the Jews can survive. And remember, no matter how devastating the pictures that will inevitably emerge from the theater of war, that it’s all about something really simple. We say it, all the time, in our national anthem:

Od lo avedah tikvateinu … liyot am chofshi be-artzeinu
We haven’t yet abandoned our hope … to be a free people in our land.

That’s really all we want.

More than that, we don’t need.
But for less than that, we’ll never, ever settle.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #416 on: January 04, 2009, 06:00:56 PM »

A Moral War (Time For Good Men To Support Israel's Right Of Self Defense Alert)
Jerusalem Post ^ | 1/04/2009 | Jerusalem Post Masthead Editorial

For pacifists who believe that all wars are immoral, Israel's self-defense operation against Hamas in Gaza is necessarily wrong. To such people we invoke the 18th-century philosopher Edmund Burke: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Confronted by a movement that amalgamates fascism with religious extremism and a genocidal platform, our moral imperative demands Jewish self-defense.

Few of the voices slamming Israel for conducting an "immoral" war in Gaza are those of pacifists.

Take Riyad Mansour, Mahmoud Abbas's man at the UN. He claimed on CNN that "3,000 Palestinians had been killed or injured" in Gaza, then denounced Israel's "targeting 1.5 million Palestinians" as "immoral" and a "crime against humanity."

Even as Mansour was pontificating, Hamas gunmen in Gaza were shooting Fatah activists in the knees as a preventive security measure lest they take advantage of the unstable situation.

In the West Bank, meanwhile, Mansour's Fatah has been ruthlessly hunting down Hamas members to keep the Islamists from seizing power there when Abbas's presidential term expires next week.

Far from there being "3,000 killed and wounded," more like 500 have been killed - 400 of them Hamas "militants," according to Palestinian Arab and UN sources inside Gaza cited by the Associated Press. Israeli sources put the Palestinian civilian death toll at some 50.

Pointing this out does not diminish the dreadful loss of dozens of innocent Palestinian lives in a week's worth of fighting. It does show, however, that the IDF continues to do everything possible to avoid "collateral damage." But its prime mandate is to protect the lives of Israeli civilians and minimize risks to our citizen-soldiers.

Over the weekend, glitterati including Annie Lennox and Bianca Jagger joined tens of thousands of mostly Muslim protesters in rallies held worldwide against the Israeli "genocide."

In fact, we'd be surprised if any another army currently on the battlefield is more conscientious about avoiding civilian casualties. Before it attacks and whenever possible, the IDF leaflets, telephones or sends text messages to residents of buildings used to launch rockets at our territory, warning them of the impending air-strike.

Conversely, what sort of "resistance" movement deliberately uses mosques, schools and homes as weapons depots and rocket launching pads? Answer: one that also uses its children and women as human shields.

AMONG those troubled by Israel's actions are Jews whose connections to things Jewish are limited to the occasional bagel or lox sandwich. They too march to make clear they're nothing like those pitiless Israelis. "As a Jew, it is very moving to see so many people… outraged at Israel's actions," said comedian Alexei Sayle, who was raised in a strictly orthodox Communist Liverpool household.

Not all uncomfortable Jews are cut off from the community. Take Isaac Luria - not the ancient kabbalist, but the young Internet director of J Street, which is devoted to redefining what it means to be pro-Israel. Luria thinks that the IDF is "pushing the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict further down a path of never-ending violence." He's strictly against "raining rockets on Israeli families" (this is bad, he knows, because he spent a year in Israel), but "there is nothing 'right' in punishing a million and a half already-suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists among them."

Wouldn't it be more intellectually honest to admit that Palestinian suffering is mostly self-inflicted? And that Hamas's anti-Israel agenda is wildly popular among Gaza's masses? And doesn't Luria owe it to himself to look a little closer at the nature of the Israeli military response.

The folks at J Street believe "there is no military solution to what is fundamentally a political conflict...." Hamas would beg to differ. Indeed, Hamas has been trying to prove the contrary, forcing Israel's hand.

What Israel's critics need to understand is that there can be no political solution while we are under Palestinian bombardment. Those who are sincere about fostering coexistence should stop bashing the IDF and start telling the Palestinians: Stop the violence.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230733173659&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
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« Reply #417 on: January 04, 2009, 07:14:52 PM »

Ah, JDN, it appears you feel folks who fire missiles indiscriminately into civilian areas and then hide amid their civilians during the response have moral standards so well developed they wouldn't stoop to use ambulances as a military transport vehicles. Some online are now stating that the video is from 2004 and shows Fatah using UN ambulances. As that may be, there is certainly a long history of Palestinian misuse of ambulances, as outlined here:

Ah no, that is not correct; I was merely pointing out that your original posted video where you even stated was "undated, unsourced, and appeared..." was erroneous, misleading,
and without any basis of fact.  Imagine if everyone here posted such blatantly false and misleading information?
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captainccs
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« Reply #418 on: January 05, 2009, 09:41:22 AM »

There is no such thing as a measured response to terrorism

says Mayor Bloomberg of NYC (video)

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=4226712&cl=11374786&src=news
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« Reply #419 on: January 05, 2009, 10:12:24 AM »

Is not Hamas committed to the total destruction of Israel?
That said I argue that the appropriate response is the total destruction of them first.
Anything less is disproportionately *low*.

I don't recall the whole argument about proportionality in warfare being discussed until we discusss the methods of the Israelis anyway.  Isn't this new politically correct stuff we are hearing or did this concept get brought up in the MSM media before?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #420 on: January 05, 2009, 11:27:40 AM »

Quote
Imagine if everyone here posted such blatantly false and misleading information?

Oh, like the false and misleading casualty figures you constantly bandy as the reason Israel should bend to Hamas' will, or the false and misleading characterizations of asymmetric warfare that lead to the "proportional" banality you incessantly spout?

Do you really doubt that a political party that hides among civilians as it pops off rockets, parades children through the streets dressed like suicide bombers, and calls for driving all Jews into the sea by any means necessary would hesitate an instant in retasking an ambulance or any other civilian resource? Care to lay a wager as to whether any such incident will be documented in Israeli after action reports?
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« Reply #421 on: January 05, 2009, 11:29:01 AM »

What Hamas Wants
It’s not peace, reconciliation, or even an end to the carnage.

By Clifford D. May

A thought experiment: Imagine that Hamas announces it will immediately cease and desist from firing missiles into Israel, that there will be no more such attacks in the future, and that it will release Gilad Shalit, the Israel soldier kidnapped two and a half years ago and held incommunicado ever since — with not even the Red Cross allowed to see him. What would happen then?

Moderate Israelis would pressure their government to make a reciprocal gesture: to stop the air attacks on Hamas’s command and control centers, release Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails and get serious peace talks underway.

But anyone who knows anything about Hamas also knows that such a scenario is implausible. Hamas was created to fight and win holy wars — not to seek peace and sing kumbaya with infidels. Hamas wants a Palestinian state in place of Israel — not next door to Israel. And for Hamas, preventing Palestinian carnage is not a priority. That’s not a slander, it’s a fact. As Hamas parliamentarian Fathi Hamad eloquently phrased it: “We desire death as you desire life.”

In 2005, Israelis undertook a real-life experiment: They said: “The Palestinians have a grievance: our occupation of Gaza and the West Bank — even though we administer those territories as the consequence of a war launched to annihilate us. But if our presence provokes violence, let’s see what results from our absence.” That summer, Israel pulled every soldier and settler out of Gaza. Every house of worship and cemetery was removed. But greenhouses were left behind.

Palestinians might have responded by using those greenhouses to grow flowers for export. They might have built factories, schools, hospitals, and hotels along their Mediterranean beaches. Had that been their choice, moderate Israelis surely would have made further concessions — for example, uprooting Israelis from the West Bank as well, and offering to negotiate a division of Jerusalem.

Instead, of course, Palestinians smashed the greenhouses and put Hamas in charge. Since then, Hamas has done nothing to spark economic development. Nevertheless, it has bemoaned the increasing destitution of unoccupied Gaza — now blaming it on Israel’s “siege” — and demanding aid, not least from Israel, which has given it (as has the U.S.), even as the rockets have fallen 

We should understand by now that when Hamas officials vow to fight “occupation,” they are referring to any and all territory on which Israelis now exercise self-determination. Osama Hamdan, Hamas’s representative in Lebanon, said: “Our goal is to liberate all of Palestine, from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea…” Similarly Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar has said:  ”We do not recognize the Israeli enemy, nor his right to be our neighbor, nor to stay, nor his ownership of any inch of land.”

This is not merely a negotiating posture, on which there can be compromise once diplomats arrange meetings. It is, rather, a religious conviction. Article 11 of the Hamas Charters states unambiguously that “the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [endowment] consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up.”

In Hamas’s view, a Muslim may do his duty and wage war for Israel’s destruction. Or a Muslim may shirk his duty. There is no third option.

One final thought experiment: Imagine that Hamas someday achieves its goal and wipes Israel off the map. Would that be the end of the global conflict now being waged by militant Islamists? Or would the Khomeinists of Iran — Hamas’s chief benefactor — al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and similar groups be energized and encouraged?  Having vanquished the “Little Satan,” what is the chance they could be sweet-talked out of continuing to battle the “Great Satan” in pursuit of the power and glory they believe is their due?

By contrast, if Israel can deliver a crippling blow to Hamas, the mission of the militant jihadists will appear to have lost Divine sanction. As my colleague, the historian Michael Ledeen, has noted: “Nothing is more devastating to a messianic movement than defeat.”


— Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies , a policy institute focusing on terrorism.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OGVhYjVlNGMxNWQ2MjYzNGZiNzg2MGYxNGE5NjU4NjI=
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JDN
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« Reply #422 on: January 05, 2009, 09:45:47 PM »

SDEROT, Israel -- Mohammed Abu Hassanin may be a young boy, but he's old enough to know he's scared of the attacks being launched by Israel in Gaza.

A wounded boy is carried into the Al-Shifa hospital on Monday in Gaza.

"When the Jews bomb us when we are asleep, [Hassanin] says 'We get scared,' " a translator says.

Hassanin is one boy from Gaza speaking frankly to an anchor on Hamas TV about the attacks, which have gone on for 10 days.

Children like him have accounted for one-third of the casualties at Gaza's main hospital, foreign doctors say. And now Hamas and their media are making them the face of the attacks.

The children have seen terrible images of tragedy: their friends injured or killed and bloodied bodies in the streets.

They are images Hassanin says he will never forget. He'll keep them stored away until he's old enough to do something about it.

"When we will grow up, we will bomb them back," a CNN translator quoted the boy saying on Hamas TV.

It's a sentiment psychiatrists in Gaza say could be responsible a frightening future --  that the violence children are witnessing will sow the seeds for future violence.  Watch how Arab media is covering the crisis »

In Gaza, a little girl wails as she talks about her friend who was killed in an attack on a Hamas house.

"She could be my sister," the girl tearfully says. "She is my friend but maybe my sister could die some day, I don't know. I am afraid."

Gaza psychiatrist Eyad el Sarraj said similar trauma to children following past Palestinian intifadas has led to violent results.

"Today children are experiencing a serious kind of trauma, and I fear for the future," el Sarraj said. "The children of the first intifada were throwing stones at the Israeli troops. And because of the trauma they were subjected to, 10 years later, the same children became suicide bombers."

Nowhere is safe for the children, and many are without food.

On Sunday, Save the Children staff members delivered food parcels to 641 families -- or nearly 6,000 people, including more than 3,000 children -- in Gaza City, east Jabalyah, Beit Lahia, Beit Hanoun and Um Al Nasser. But the group said the continuous air assaults and ground fighting are making movement dangerous for needy families.

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"The situation has reached a critical level for children who are exposed to and experiencing violence, fear and uncertainty," said Annie Foster, Save the Children's team leader for the emergency response in the region.

"Parents are facing enormous challenges to protecting and caring for their children. Either they cannot leave their house to attend to basic needs for fear of being caught in the crossfire -- or they are being forced from their homes, into harm's way, to find shelter."

In the streets of Gaza, where Israeli ground forces are operating, and on the Israeli side, where Hamas rockets are being launched, the streets are empty. Even playgrounds for children are equipped with bunkers.  Watch the latest on Hamas' continued rocket threats »

Sirens wail on the Israeli side warning of Hamas rocket attacks. When asked what they think when they hear the sound, the children respond with only one word: "Fear."

The threat of Hamas rockets in the south of Israel is taken so seriously that almost all the schools within rocket range of Gaza have locked their gates and told children not to come to school. According to the Israeli government, 300,000 students are affected.

The threat to children is something, perhaps the only thing, that people on both sides of the border agree on.

Gaby Schrieber, an Israeli psychiatrist at Barzilai Hospital, says Israeli children get excellent help and structured support  -- something he fears children in Gaza won't be receiving.

And if they don't get the support they need or hope for a better future, Schrieber worries what will happen to them.

"Where is hope for them, and how can they structure their future in their minds?" Schrieber said. "They can become extremists." E-mail to a friend  | Mixx it | Share
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G M
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« Reply #423 on: January 05, 2009, 10:21:50 PM »

JDN,

The "Palestinian" children are conditioned from birth to wage jihad. Your sob-sister propaganda seems to avoid this truth.

Look up some of the children's programs from http://www.memritv.org/
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G M
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« Reply #424 on: January 05, 2009, 11:05:48 PM »

http://www.weaselzippers.net/blog/2009/01/shock-and-horror-hamas-says-assoud-the-jihad-bunny-mortally-wounded-in-israeli-airstrike.html

More tragic news from Gaza! Try not to tear up too much......
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captainccs
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« Reply #425 on: January 05, 2009, 11:23:09 PM »


Does the bunny get 72 virgin bunnettes?  evil
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« Reply #426 on: January 06, 2009, 02:30:33 AM »

http://www.theaugeanstables.com/reflections-from-second-draft/pallywood-a-history/

Too long to cut and paste. Read this and open your eyes, JDN.
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« Reply #427 on: January 06, 2009, 09:12:43 AM »

Does the bunny get 72 virgin bunnettes?  evil

I don't know captain, but if the 72 virgins looked like the one next to the bunny I personally would ask for
a refund/raincheck myself.   grin

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ccp
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« Reply #428 on: January 06, 2009, 09:55:50 AM »

"When we will grow up, we will bomb them back," a CNN translator quoted the boy saying on Hamas TV"
That is exactly why the Israeli response is disproportionately too low.
This is a fight for survival, for existence.
It is weakness not strength that leaves Israel at higher risk.
Right now the PC police leave them weak.
And of course the age old its "the jews" fault for wanting to have a tiny spot on the Earth.  How dare them!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #429 on: January 06, 2009, 10:06:25 AM »

This guy gets the Big Chutzpah award. angry angry angry
=============================


srael has legitimised the killing of its children
The Times

January 6, 2009

Hamas: Israel has legitimised the killing of its children


Fighting intensified on the northern outskirts of Gaza City yesterday as a Hamas leader warned that the Islamists would kill Jewish children anywhere in the world in revenge for Israel’s devastating assault.

“They have legitimised the murder of their own children by killing the children of Palestine,” Mahmoud Zahar said in a televised broadcast recorded at a secret location. “They have legitimised the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people.”


Mr Zahar made his first appearance since Israel launched its offensive. Dressed in a dark suit, he declared: “Victory is coming, God willing.”

As night fell on the territory, most of which is without electricity, the sky above Gaza was illuminated by explosions and flares from the pitched battle on Gaza City’s northern fringes, where Israeli tanks, helicopters and artillery fought to dislodge Hamas guerrillas. Witnesses said that the battle had, for the first time, spilled into Gaza City itself, where the head of Hamas’s armed wing warned that thousands of his fighters were waiting.


The Israeli military said last night that three of its soldiers were killed and 24 wounded by a shell from one of its own tanks in a battle near Gaza City.

Abu Obeida, the leader of Hamas’s military wing, made his first appearance on Gaza television, his face masked in a red and white scarf, to goad Israeli forces massed outside the teeming city of 400,000 people. “We have prepared thousands of brave fighters who are waiting for you in each corner of the street and will welcome you with fire and iron,” he said.

Despite growing international calls for a ceasefire, neither side has shown the slightest intention of backing down. Israel, supported by the outgoing Bush Administration in the United States, rejected European calls for an immediate ceasefire reiterated during a peace mission by President Sarkozy of France. Israel argues that it needs to break Hamas’s military capacity if a durable ceasefire is to be negotiated. “We cannot accept a compromise that will allow Hamas to fire \ against Israeli towns in two months’ time,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Mr Sarkozy last night.

Hamas, meanwhile, kept firing rockets into southern Israel, launching about 40 of its home-made Qassam rockets and more sophisticated Grad missiles. They again hit Beersheba, about 25 miles from Gaza. While Israeli forces have stormed into the northeastern area of the Strip, from where Hamas usually launches its projectiles, the Islamists have maintained their fire from within Gaza City.

Many analysts believe that Hamas wants to goad Israel into its stronghold, a hellish landscape for urban combat, which the Islamists have had 18 months to prime with booby traps, ambushes and tunnels.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israeli soldiers raided the house of a Hamas militant only to find three tunnels underneath through which their quarry escaped. It added that Hamas’s reports of kidnapping an Israeli soldier stemmed from an incident in which the soldier became separated from his unit and the militants tried to drag him down a tunnel. He escaped after a scuffle, it said.

Mr Sarkozy, part of a high-level EU effort in the region to negotiate a truce, told Israel that “the violence must halt”. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President and Fatah leader, whom he met in Ramallah yesterday, also called for an unconditional truce.

Mr Sarkozy ran foul of Hamas when he said that it must bear most of the blame for the increasingly miserable plight of the 1.5 million Gazans it rules over. “Hamas acted in an irresponsible and unforgiveable manner . . . Hamas is to blame for the suffering of the Palestinians,” he said. A Hamas spokesman accused Mr Sarkozy of “total bias” towards Israel.

Casualty figures

550 Palestinians have been killed in Operation Cast Lead

100 of the dead are children

2,500 Palestinians have been wounded

4 Israeli civilians have been killed since the operation began, and four Israeli soldiers. Seventy-seven soldiers have been injured

Source: Gaza medical services, Israel Defence Forces

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle5454204.ece
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« Reply #430 on: January 06, 2009, 05:10:57 PM »

It is important to stress that the people of Palestine elected HAMAS, they back HAMAS, and therefore they are as responsible as HAMAS for the suffering they are inflicting on themselves. I can't be bothered to shed a tear for these murderers and terrorists. Let's not forget that they dress their little ones as suicide bombers. No rational and compassionate parent would do anything as idiotic. The Palestinians are dedicated to breeding cannon fodder and then they want the world to weep for them. What is sad is that there are so many idiots in the West who buy this criminal story.


About that Israeli strike on the UN “school” Updated
By Michelle Malkin  •  January 6, 2009 12:14 PM

Scroll for updates…

For context, watch this video from the UNRWA boys’ school in Gaza in 2007:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmXXUOs27lI&eurl=http://michellemalkin.com/2009/01/06/about-that-israeli-strike-on-the-un-school/&feature=player_embedded

Terrorists from the Gaza Strip fire mortars from an UNRWA boys’ school in Gaza on 29 Oct. 2007. Hamas and other terror organizations in Gaza make deliberate use of civilians living in populated areas as human shields.

Here’s another clip

Israeli official: militants fired from UN school

Fast forward to 2009:

An Israeli official says Palestinian militants fired on Israeli soldiers from the courtyard of a U.N. school where dozens of people died in fiery explosions.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he said the army is still drafting the country’s official response to the incident.

Palestinian medics said 34 people were killed in an Israeli strike outside a U.N. school in the northern Gaza town of Jebaliya. The United Nations confirmed 30 were killed and 55 injured.

The Israeli official said “hostile fire” was directed at the soldiers from within the school. He said soldiers returned fire and multiple explosions went off, presumably emanating from munitions stored there.

Related: “Hamas operatives are in the hospital and have disguised themselves as nurses and doctors,” one official said.

Flashback - more human shield ploys: Ambulances for terror


http://michellemalkin.com/2009/01/06/about-that-israeli-strike-on-the-un-school/
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« Reply #431 on: January 06, 2009, 06:12:45 PM »

Bad Timing
Gaza could have been a model of the future Palestinian state. Instead, it is a place of repression and aggression.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, Jan. 5, 2009, at 12:07 PM ET

The deaths of Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, and of Israelis (Muslim and Christian Arab, and Druse and Bedouin, as well as Jewish, don't forget, in Ashdod and Sderot), are hardly ennobled by the sordid realization that the timing of the carnage has been determined by three sets of electoral calculation.

The first and the most obvious is the interregnum between U.S. presidencies, in which only the faintest of squeaks will be heard from our political class as our weapons are used to establish later bridgeheads and to realign our uneasy simultaneous patronage of the Israeli and the Egyptian and the Palestinian establishments. Benny Morris, one of the most tough-minded Israeli intellectual commentators, used to speculate that Israel would employ the Bush-Obama transition to strike at Iranian nuclear sites. He may have been wrong in the short term, but, in fact, the current attack on Gaza and Hamas is the same war in a micro or proxy form.

Second comes the impending February election in Israel. Until last week, Benjamin Netanyahu was strongly favored to come back as the man whose hard line against territorial concessions had been vindicated by the use of long-evacuated Gaza as a launching pad for random missile attacks. It now seems unlikely that he can easily outbid the current ruling coalition, at least from the hawkish right. (Remember that all the nonsense of the so-called "Al-Aqsa intifada," which wasted so much time and life in the last decades, was first instigated by an electoral rivalry between Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon, in which the latter showed himself more hard-line than the former by waddling militantly across the Temple Mount in the company of an armed band. For such vanities do children end up screaming in the streets over the mangled bodies of their parents—and vice, if I may so phrase it, versa.)

The third consideration, and the least noticed, is the fact that this month is the one where new elections for the Palestinian Authority have to be called by President Mahmoud Abbas, if not actually held. Before the new year, I talked to one or two knowledgeable Palestinians who argued that, under then-present conditions, Hamas had to hope that such elections would not soon take place. Life in Islamic Gaza was not such as to induce ecstatic happiness and prosperity among the populace: In common with many fundamentalist movements, the Muslim Brotherhood in its local Palestinian incarnation had badly overplayed its hand. It seems improbable that we'll ever know what would have happened in a free vote, but I think it's safe to say that recent events have further postponed the emergence of a democratic and secular alternative among the Palestinians. I even think it's possible that some people in Israel and some other people in Gaza do not want to see the emergence of such a force, but let me not be cynical.

So, that is why this nasty confrontation is taking place this time instead of at another time. But each miniature of the picture also implies its own enlargement, which in turn suggests that if the latest Gaza war hadn't come at this time, it would certainly have come at another. Again and as usual, Morris' work is instructive. As one of the most stern of the "revisionist" historians of Israel's founding who went deep into his own country's archives to show that Palestinians had been the victims of a deliberate ethnic cleansing in 1947-48, Morris is accustomed to looking disagreeable facts in the face. I strongly recommend a reading of his Dec. 29 op-ed in the New York Times. In it, he described not so much what he saw when he himself looked facts in the face as what Israelis see when they look outward and inward. To the north, Hezbollah local missiles backed by Syria and Iran, two dictatorships, one of which may soon possess nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. To the south and west, Hamas in Gaza. In the occupied territories of the West Bank, the same old colonial rule over the unwilling and the same mad confrontation with the Messianic Jewish settlers. Within Israel itself, an increasing tendency for Israeli Arabs to identify as Arabs or Palestinians rather than Israelis. Overarching everything, the sheer demographic fact that Israeli law, and Israeli power, governs or dominates more and more non-Jews, fewer and fewer of whom are interested in compromise. (It was this demographic imperative, if you remember, that made even Sharon give up the idea of "greater Israel," a scheme for which many state-subsidized Israeli settlers are still very much willing to die—and to kill.)

Compared with the threat to its very existence that had been posed in 1967, wrote Morris, the only changes that now favored Israel were the arrival of another 2 million or 3 million Israelis and the acquisition of a nuclear arsenal. But how reassuring, really, are those developments? Where are the new immigrants to go, unless onto disputed land? And on whom can the nukes be employed? On Gaza? In Hebron? These places would still be there, right next to the Jewish community, even if Damascus and Tehran were ashes. Only the messianic could even contemplate such an outcome. (What a pity there are so many of them locally.)

Confronted with this amazing concatenation of circumstances, and with some of the frightening blunders—such as the last invasion of Lebanon—that have resulted from it, some Israeli politicians appear to think that taking a tough line in Gaza might at least be good for short-term morale. This was the clear implication of the usually admirable Ethan Bronner's New York Times front-page reports on Dec. 28, 2008, and Jan. 4, 2009. So why not just come right out with it and say that one is bombing for votes?

It is only when one begins to grasp all the foregoing that one understands exactly how disgusting and squalid is the behavior of the Hamas gang. It knows very well that sanctions are injuring every Palestinian citizen, but—just like Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq—it declines to cease the indiscriminate violence and the racist and religious demagogy that led to the sanctions in the first place. Palestine is a common home for several religious and national groups, but Hamas dogmatically insists that the whole territory is instead an exclusively Muslim part of a future Islamic empire. At a time when democratic and reformist trends are observable in the region, from Lebanon to the Gulf, Hamas' leadership is physically and economically a part of the clientele of two of the area's worst dictatorships. (Should you ever be in need of a free laugh, look up those Western "intellectuals" who believe that a vote for an Islamist party and an Islamic state is a way to vote against corruption! They have not lately studied Iran and Saudi Arabia.) Gaza could have been a prefiguration of a future self-determined Palestinian state. Instead, it has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood and made into a place of repression for its inhabitants and aggression for its neighbors. Once again, the Party of God has the whip hand. To read Benny Morris is to be quite able—and quite free—to doubt that there should ever have been an Israeli state to begin with. But to see Hamas at work is to resolve that whatever replaces or follows Zionism, it must not be the wasteland of Islamic theocracy.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the Roger S. Mertz media fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, Calif.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #432 on: January 06, 2009, 06:58:22 PM »

Although it gets several of the big points right, on several levels what a nasty little piece that is.
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« Reply #433 on: January 07, 2009, 02:43:49 AM »

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/975wlwfj.asp

Gaza Is Not Lebanon
Why Israel's campaign against Hamas may succeed.
by Thomas Donnelly & Danielle Pletka
01/05/2009 5:00:00 PM


The conventional wisdom about the incursion by Israeli ground units into Gaza, mirrored in Sunday's Washington Post, is that "Israeli leaders run the risk of repeating their disastrous experience in the 2006 Lebanon war, when they suffered high casualties in ground combat with Hezbollah." Apparently, reporters and pundits are even more prone to refighting the last war than generals: Gaza is not Lebanon; Hamas is not Hezbollah and, most critically, Israel now is not Israel in 2006.

To begin with, the physical and geographical differences between southern Lebanon and the Gaza strip could hardly be greater. And while Hassan Nasrallah and the Hezbollah leadership were under air attack in the outskirts of Beirut in 2006, the Hamas leadership has far fewer places to hide in Gaza city and elsewhere in Gaza. The initial successes of the Israeli airstrikes were not just a product of much better intelligence about Hamas (though it's probable that Israeli intelligence had done a superior job of exploiting differences amongst Hamas and West Bank leaders to improve its targeting), but also reflect simple facts of proximity and smaller scale. The terrain makes perhaps an even greater difference in ground warfare. The hills of southern Lebanon are not only naturally defensible terrain--each village providing an excellent fortified fighting position--but helped to channel Israeli armored columns. A good percentage of Israeli combat deaths came from a handful of successful ambushes.

Gaza is also an inherently isolated battlefield. Whereas Hezbollah could be resupplied not from northern Lebanon, Syria, and even from the sea, Gaza is surrounded by Israeli walls and a closed border with Egypt. And the Israeli Navy dominates the coastline. As long as Egypt restricts movement into and out of Gaza, the Hamas leadership and forces are trapped in a very small pocket. Israel's moves on the ground have capitalized on this essential fact. Within the first hours of their thrust into Gaza, the IDF appears to have been able to cordon off Gaza city and the other larger villages to the south. Hamas is now further isolated into smaller pockets, and press reports indicate that their larger command and control structure is falling apart.

Hamas and Hezbollah are also profoundly different beasts. While neither is really the "non-state actor" as popularly understood, Hezbollah is a much more robust and state-like organization, while Hamas is only a notch above its roots as a terrorist group, and has failed to capitalize on its control of quasi-independent Gaza to organize or modernize. And further, while both are Iranian proxies, the duration, depth and strength of Tehran's investments in Hezbollah far exceeds its investments in Hamas. (It's also worth noting that Hamas is a Sunni group, and though sectarianism is an imperfect guide to alliances in the Middle East--as our experience in Iraq should make clear--it does contribute to the fact that Iranian ties with Hezbollah are more organic than with Hamas.) In addition, the Lebanese state's weaknesses make it a free zone in which the Iranian Quds Force has been able to conduct rigorous paramilitary training and rearm its proxies freely. Hamas has operated under a much more watchful Israeli eye. Iranian military assistance and training to Hamas has been effective only in limited areas, and has itself lacked the scope of effort Hezbollah has enjoyed; whereas Hezbollah armed and trained and (with North Korean aid) built infrastructure for many years to fight as it did in 2006.

The result was a Hezbollah built to be a very tough opponent for the IDF. In 2006, as Stephen Biddle and Jeffrey Friedman found in a recent study for the U.S. Army War College, some of the firefights in Lebanon lasted for more than six hours, and involved Lebanese village militia as well as Hezbollah "regulars." We shall see how much the Israelis do to collapse the several pockets of Hamas they have created in Gaza, although it is worth noting that, as Hamas forces are isolated, the opportunity to bring air and artillery fires to bear in a relatively precise way will return. To be sure, there may be some close urban combat, but if the IDF maintains a methodical approach, they can slowly eviscerate Hamas militarily. Thus far, the casualty exchange ratios thus far are nothing like Lebanon; according to the War College study, the Lebanon war resulted in 53 Israeli civilian deaths from Hezbollah rockets and 119 soldiers killed in action. Thus far, Hamas is showed no ability to affect Israeli maneuvers along the main roadways used to cut through Gaza--although these ought to have been generally predictable avenues of attack--nor do there seem to have been many defense-in-depth positions, at least any that have halted or slowed Israeli progress. It's one thing to retreat into the warrens of Gaza city or other towns as Hamas appears to be doing, but Hezbollah conducted a much more active defense; also its leadership around Beirut was at less immediate risk. The Hamas defenses, thus far, have been systematically ineffective. Biddle and Friedman rightly concluded that Hezbollah has become a more traditional and conventional force, and that this development accounted for much of its improved tactical performance in 2006.

Hezbollah also acted like "regulars" in the sense of wearing uniforms. This is not simply a legal nicety or fashion statement (though their black garb is designed to intimidate their opponents), but a measure both of internal cohesion and the relationship of the military to the state--again, it is better to think of Hezbollah as a "proto-state" rather than a "non-state." Indeed, Hezbollah's recent agreement with the Lebanese state enshrines this status. Also, since one of the primary requisites of a legitimate state is defense of territory and people, it would seem that Hamas is losing its "domestic" propaganda war in a way that Hezbollah did not. Likewise, on the mythic "Arab street," Hamas's performance can only be found wanting in comparison to Hezbollah; the echoes of past Arab failures against Israel may return to haunt the Palestinians. It is worth remembering that Hezbollah's "victory" was not simply that it survived, as popular understanding has it, but that it put up a respectable military performance in defense of its territory. Indeed, it would be fair to say that first among the Arabs, Hezbollah severely dented the historic Israeli deterrent in 2006.

Further, one of the likely reasons that Hezbollah's cohesion and its popular support in southern Lebanon was more deeply rooted is that it performs a number of its state-like functions well, at least by local standards; the strength of the Hezbollah civil "state" contributes to military effectiveness.

Finally, the Israelis seem far better prepared this time around than in Lebanon 2006. Domestic political expectations are low--for Israelis, this is another incidence of "frontier warfare," not dissimilar from American Indian-fighting, where the expectation is to "treat a condition" rather than "cure" it by producing a conclusive outcome. Strategically, they've also clearly worked things out with the Egyptians (and indeed other Arab governments) who seem happy to see Hamas crushed, though it's hard to say how long that will hold. Notably, Fatah and Hezbollah also appear to be sitting this one out. Hezbollah's inactivity is especially interesting, despite Nasrallah's fulminations: Nasrallah, and even the Iranians, likely realize that victory is not in the cards for this round. More importantly, Hezbollah's decision to steer clear underscores its own independence. Better to join a winning war. Even the Iranian regime, while engaging in its typical verbal posturing, has done little of material value for Hamas. Tehran is also likely considering the value of joining a losing fight that might also remove what they may regard opportunities to be explored with the Obama administration. Stand by for pundits to start explaining how we need Tehran to resolve the Gaza mess.

Militarily, the Israelis seem much better organized, conducting combing and coordinated air and land operations, and committing adequate forces from the start rather than feeding forces into the fight in a piecemeal fashion. They've also been more patient, a very necessary virtue. And while the "end state" is uncertain--which most Western analysts argue is a big problem--it's not at all clear that the IDF can't just retreat behind the border barriers when they perceive they've reached the culminating point of diminishing returns. Is a lawless Gaza worse than a Hamas-ruled Gaza? Sure, Hamas will probably reestablish a level of control in Gaza, but who's to say there won't be a short if nasty and brutish struggle for power in the aftermath.

A decimated Hamas will also ask a strategic question of Tehran: They may try to rearm a reconstituted Hamas, but inevitably will do so with little confidence in the value of their Hamas proxy. Israel would reap a huge deterrence windfall if the outcome demonstrates a limit to the value of Iranian sponsorship. It seems that two possibilities await: that Iran calculates that Hamas is a disposable asset, worth jettisoning in hopes of a rapprochement--a short-term deal if not a Grand Bargain--with America. That would be the smart game. But past habits are hard to break, and no doubt the Revolutionary Guard Corps and its training cadres will be salivating to try to remake Hamas more in the Hezbollah style, to fight for keeps in the next go round.

Indeed, it is worth wondering how this might have played out if Iran had demonstrated a nuclear capability by now. The Arabs would likely be less supportive of Israel. Maybe even the Europeans would have weighed in sooner against Israel. Possibly even the Israelis would have been deterred from striking at Hamas, and certainly they would have thought twice before acting. But none of this is clear; war is, sometimes, the least bad choice. Iranian nuclear weapons may deter direct attacks on Tehran, but will they protect its proxies? Let's hope not, because that is a question that will likely be asked again.

Thomas Donnelly is resident fellow in defense and national security studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Danielle Pletka is vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.
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« Reply #434 on: January 07, 2009, 07:25:45 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/01/07/prager-to-dershowitz-how-can-you-still-be-a-liberal/

Prager to Dershowitz: How can you still be a liberal?
posted at 7:55 am on January 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey   


Dennis Prager sent a challenge to Alan Dershowitz yesterday about his politics, not because Dershowitz wrote something with which Prager disagrees, but because he understands the issue of Israel so well.  After excoriating Israel’s critics for “moral idiocy” for ignoring the genocidal intent of Hamas, and their insipid arguments of proportionality, Prager thinks Dershowitz should reconsider his entire political bent — or at least the company he chooses:

In his Monitor column, Dershowitz describes “three types of international response to the Israeli military actions against the Hamas rockets” — “Iran, Hamas, and other knee-jerk Israeli-bashers,” “the United Nations, the European Union, Russia, and others who, at least when it comes to Israel, see a moral and legal equivalence between terrorists who target civilians and a democracy that responds by targeting the terrorists,” and “the United States and a few other nations that place the blame squarely on Hamas.”

It is relevant to the question I will pose that he omits any mention of the world’s left, even when mentioning the European Union. Who exactly in the European Union is condemning Israel? Its conservatives? Who in America is condemning Israel? Conservatives? Who in Australia or Canada? Conservatives? Of course not. As regards Israel (and America and much else), the Western world’s moral idiots, to use the term in the title of the Dershowitz column, are virtually all on the left, including and especially many of his colleagues in academia.

So, I have a question for my friend Dershowitz. (I say ‘friend’ because we’ve known each other for years and debated and dialogued together.)

Given that Israel’s security is so important to you, given that you believe that the ability to morally distinguish between Israel and its enemies is tantamount to the ability to distinguish between good and evil, and given that those who condemn Israel for its “disproportionate” response to Hamas terror-rockets are almost all on the left in America and Europe, why do you continue to identify yourself as a man of the left?

Everyone who thinks sometimes differs with one’s ideological compatriots. But when one’s ideological compatriots are morally wrong on the greatest moral issue of the moment and perhaps the very clearest as well, don’t you at least suffer from cognitive dissonance?


Prager notes that Dershowitz seems to go far out of his way to avoid blaming the Left specifically.  Dershowitz doesn’t even mention that most of these critics come from the Left, and tries to put at least half of the blame on “the extreme Right”, helped no doubt by people like Ron Paul.  However, the Ron Paul isolationist absolutists (and Stormfront allies) only comprise a tiny percentage of the people holding rallies on campuses and in metropolitan areas.  Those arguments mainly come from groups like International ANSWER, World Can’t Wait, and other radical Left groups that combine animus for Israel with animus for the US.

However, Prager seems to fall into the same trap that Republicans did with Joe Lieberman, who took a similarly courageous stand against his political allies to support victory in Iraq.  I’d call Lieberman a hero for that effort, sacrificing his political standing and almost losing his seat rather than surrendering to his party’s insistence on exploiting potential defeat for political gain.  But I wouldn’t call Lieberman a conservative, or even a center-right politician, even when he got the one critical issue correct.  Lieberman is a solid and unapologetic liberal, unlike Zell Miller, for instance, whose basic center-right instincts got short shrift from Democrats.

Dershowitz has remained strong in his support for a war on Islamist terrorists and for Israel.  He hasn’t quite remained strong enough to name names properly when excoriating critics for their moral idiocy, which Prager rightly criticizes.  However, overall Dershowitz is a doctrinaire liberal, and unless his allies abandon him like Lieberman’s party did when Lieberman stuck to his principles, Dershowitz will unfortunately remain more comfortable with the Left than the Right … and vice versa.

I’d be reasonably happy if Dershowitz skipped embracing conservatives while continuing to dismantle the Left’s attacks on Israel and their support for genocidal tyranny with Hamas.
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« Reply #435 on: January 07, 2009, 12:41:11 PM »

No doubt misfiled, but another reminder that bad things occur when Islamofascists win:

Gruesome Artifacts on Display at New Iraqi Museum
by Jeff Emanuel (more by this author)
Posted 01/05/2009 ET
Updated 01/05/2009 ET

Nearly six years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and two years after Saddam Hussein’s conviction and execution for slaughtering hundreds of thousands of his own citizens, the Islamic nation’s High Tribunal is trying to ensure Saddam’s memory is both clouded and preserved with a museum featuring artifacts of, and documents recounting, the myriad atrocities the former Iraqi dictator committed during his 24 years in power.

Gruesome Evidence and Artifacts on Display

The museum, set to open to the Iraqi public at the beginning of March in Baghdad’s International Zone, will serve as a permanent home for a collection of physical and documentary evidence of Saddam’s atrocities which has been criss-crossing Iraq for the public’s view since March 2008.

Hanging apparati -- hooks and bloody nooses -- used to asphyxiate countless Iraqi men, women, and children will be displayed, as well as torture devices like “a man-shaped metal cage where,” according to reports, “Saddam’s son Uday used to lock underperforming athletes for weeks at a time -- and set them naked under the burning sun, the metal searing their flesh,” as well as a table, formerly housed in the basement of the Mukhabarat -- Saddam’s intelligence agency -- to which victims were strapped before being burned with irons or having electric currents transmitted through syringes into their urethras.

The museum will display pictures of hangings and of victims’ bodies, as well as the personal effects of some of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis murdered and dumped in one of dozens of mass graves by Saddam’s regime. These artifacts, according to a report, “include combs, identity cards, a rosary…and bloodstained clothes.”

Also on display, according to a museum worker who spoke with reporters on the condition of anonymity, will be documents from the trial, including “the final decision and the execution order,” so that “people will be able to see his guilt for themselves.”

The facility will also include a research center with a virtual library housing nearly 26 million documents detailing Saddam’s atrocities while dictator, from his orders to exterminate the Kurds in northern Iraq with chemical weapons, to his command that nearly 150 Iraqis – including children – be tortured (some by being put through flesh-ripping meat grinders) and slaughtered in response to a failed 1982 attempt on his life.

History Outweighs Reconciliation

“We thought that people might forget the works committed by dictators who committed horrible acts against them,” said Judge Arif Abdel-Razaq al-Shaheen, chief justice of the High Tribunal, which sentenced Saddam to death two years ago and which is currently trying Ali Hassan al-Majeed (known as “Chemical Ali” for his role in gassing thousands of Iraqi Kurd civilians, and already twice sentenced to death by the same tribunal) and former Iraqi vice president Tariq Aziz for their roles in slaughtering tens of thousands of opponents of Saddam’s ruling Ba’ath Party.

Though the peace in Iraq remains frail, and another hurdle is rapidly approaching with provincial elections scheduled for January 31, al-Shaheen maintains that keeping Saddam’s memory alive is more important than even temporarily sweeping the contentious figure under the rug for the purpose of “national reconciliation.”

“This museum is about history,” al-Shaheen said. “History must not be forgotten.”

The man who purged hundreds of military leaders and fellow Ba’athists shortly after taking power, brutally tortured and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his own countrymen, sent a million more to their deaths in war, raped hundreds of young women, had his critics’ tongues cut out of their heads, and sent tens of thousands of dollars to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers as a reward for the killing of Jews must be remembered for being every bit the terrible tyrant he was -- and, thanks to the dedication of the new Iraqi government, Saddam’s real legacy will live on.

Mr. Emanuel, a special operations military veteran, is a columnist, a pulitzer-nominated combat journalist, and a director emeritus of conservative weblog RedState.com.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?print=yes&id=30138
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« Reply #436 on: January 07, 2009, 12:44:14 PM »

January 6, 2009   by Ricki Hollander

Norwegian Doctors in Gaza: Objective Observers or Partisan Propagandists?

Mads Gilbert

The source of most of the information coming from Gaza thus far has been from Palestinian representatives. One of the only non-Palestinian voices heard has been that of Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who entered Gaza on December 31 along with his colleague Erik Fosse ostensibly to provide medical assistance to Palestinians at Shifa Hospital. They have become media stars as the BBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, Independent, Sky News, and New York Times, among others, have turned to them as independent foreign observers to provide a presumably non-partisan perspective. They have been extensively interviewed in the Norwegian as well as the world press. In fact, Gilbert appears in so many interviews that one wonders how he has the time to provide medical help, never mind "doing surgery around the clock" as he claims.

In his interviews, Gilbert decries what he claims is Israel's "all out war against civilians." Condemning Israel for "deliberately targeting the [Palestinian] population" and causing "a man-made disaster," Gilbert and Fosse claim that Israel and the UN are lying about the civilian casualty count and feed the media their own alternate statistics ( "50% of the casualties are women and children"–CBS; "children made up 25% of the deaths and 45% of the wounded"–BBC). Gilbert is even quoted by the Iranian Press TV alleging the Israelis have used unconventional weapons against the Palestinians.

So are these Norwegians indeed non-partisan foreigners providing independent confirmation of Palestinian reports or do they have an agenda? Is Gilbert simply someone "who was allowed into Gaza last week to give emergency medical aid, and who has worked in many conflict zones," as the New York Times introduces him or someone with a partisan perspective?

Gilbert is a radical Marxist and a member of the political Red (Rodt) party, a revolutionary socialist party in Norway. He has been a pro-Palestinian activist since the 1970's and travelled to Lebanon in support of the Palestinians during the first Lebanon war in 1982. He has long been a vocal opponent of Israel and the U.S. Gilbert has acknowledged that he cannot separate politics from medicine, stating, "there is little in medicine that is not politics." He even criticizes the group Doctors Without Borders for providing medical assistance to both sides in a conflict instead of taking a strong stance and supporting only one party. In a 2006 article in Nordlys, journalist Ivan Kristoffersen lamented the fact that Gilbert allows his humanitarian efforts to be politicized by his radical agenda.   
 
The extent of Gilbert's political agenda and animus toward Israel and the U.S. is best evidenced by his radical support for the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the U.S. 
 
In an interview with the Norwegian daily, Dagbladet, shortly after the attacks, Gilbert stated:
The attack on New York was not surprising, after the policy that has led the West in recent decades. I am upset over the terrorist attack, but am equally upset over the suffering which the United States has created. It is in this context that the 5000 dead people must be seen. If the U.S. government has a legitimate right to bomb and kill civilians in Iraq, then there is also a moral right to attack the United States with the weapons they had to create. Dead civilians are the same whether they are Americans, Palestinians or Iraqis.


Erik Fosse

When asked by Dagbladet if he supported the terrorist attack on the U.S., he replied:

Terror is a bad weapon, but the answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned. (Sept. 30, 2001)

Fosse worked as a doctor for the Palestine Committee in Lebanon in the 1970's. He now leads NORWAC, the Norwegian Aid Committee. According to Aftenposten, Fosse's passion to work on behalf of Palestinians was sparked by his time in Lebanon.

According to Verdens Gang, the largest Norwegian daily, Gilbert and Fosse's current trip to Gaza is funded by the Norwegian foreign ministry.
Given the partisan — and in Gilbert's case, radical — perspective they represent, Fosse's and Gilbert's testimony must be weighed with extreme caution.

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_print=1&x_context=2&x_outlet=35&x_article=1580
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« Reply #437 on: January 07, 2009, 03:31:02 PM »

Islamofascist apologists beware, the blogosphere is countering biased reporting.

January 07, 2009, 2:00 p.m.

Israel in the Balance
Finally, some good news on the portrayal of Israel in the media.

By Stephanie Gutmann

Much is infuriating about the last week’s coverage of Israel’s long-overdue incursion into the Gaza strip. Israel is seeking to destroy the rocket-launch sites that Hamas has used to terrorize the civilian population in the southern half of Israel, but a recent Yahoo news round-up contained an Associated Press story with the headline “Gaza civilians left exposed in Israeli invasion.”

The AP story begins with the now-familiar formula of a harrowing anecdote — this one about “10 members of Lubna Karam’s family [who] spent the night huddled in the hallway of their Gaza City home” — bracketed with an array of photos of wailing and bleeding Palestinian civilians. As usual, all civilian deaths are depicted purely as a result of Israeli militarism, disproportionate force, and brutality. There is no mention that while waging war on Israel, Hamas has never treated its own citizenry to anything approaching a respectable civil-defense network of shelters and warning sirens. Or that Hamas actually encourages civilian causalities; such casualties are its prime weapon in its public-relations war against Israel.

But that is the AP. Surveying other important media like CNN and the New York Times, there are many rays of light. Coverage has improved. Balance is being sought. It is an insipid, morally relativistic form of balance — but it is balance, unmistakably.

This is not the fall of 2000, when Yasser Arafat began a war with Israel, and when the mainstream media became a conduit for almost unadulterated PLO propaganda. These were the days when Tom Brokaw, on the NBC Nightly News, introduced a report with the words “Israeli riot police stormed the shrine, opening fire with rubber bullets and live ammunition on Palestinians who were throwing stones.” In fact, the confrontation in question began when worshippers poured out of the Al-Aqsa Mosque after an inflammatory sermon and tossed bottles, stones, and other deadly objects on worshippers at the Western Wall.

This is not even the summer of 2006, when Israel invaded Lebanon to stop a rocket barrage similar to the one the country is now getting from Hamas. Through the mainstream media, Hezbollah shut down the Israeli offensive with a carefully calculated stream of images of civilian casualties.

Of course, this is a war, and things can change on a dime — particularly as the conflict drags on and Hamas throws more of its civilians into the incinerator to provide fodder for “outreach” to the world community. But for the time being, one sees a rather dogged insistence on balance. This week on CNN, after the typical near-hysterical piece on mounting civilian casualties in the strip (again, no mention of the absence of a civil-defense system or of Hamas’s calculated use of civilians as human shields), a piece showing Israelis running for bomb shelters in Ashkelon and Beersheba aired. The segment included an interview with a Palestinian scholar who alleged that Israel had brought rockets, grads, kassems, et al., on herself with her continued “occupation” — but also clips of a powerful Israeli spokesman, who reminded viewers that Israel had tried to allow the Palestinians to develop their state for some time, but Hamas didn’t seem to want the party to end.

So what’s has happened between 2000 and the present? A number of factors have allowed Major Avital Leibovich, head of the foreign-press department in the IDF Spokesman’s Unit, to say, “I’m surprised for the better. The coverage has been balanced on most channels, even on some outlets not known for being pro-Israel.”

One big one is the creation and growth of web-based communities such as CAMERA, littlegreenfootballs.com, and honestreporting.com, which monitor coverage, share information with each other, and launch e-mail and phone-call campaigns in response to distortions. CAMERA (Committee for Accurate Middle East Reporting of America), the oldest and best-funded of the bunch, tirelessly scans headlines and transcripts and demands retractions and corrections. It often gets them. It is probably the New York Times public editor’s worst nightmare.

Honestreporting.com started life in London, truly the Belly of the Beast when it comes to bad reporting on Israel. One of its early triumphs came during the spring of 2002 and what was widely being called “Israel’s incursion into the Jenin refugee camp.” As has often been the case, CNN was one of the worst offenders, so the website’s devotees sent up to 6,000 e-mails a day to the network’s executives, effectively paralyzing their internal e-mail system. Meetings with CNN execs followed, with representatives of honestreporing.com briefing the execs about the real facts on the ground.


In the summer of 2006, a small army of websites, led by littlegreenfootballs.com, brought massive embarrassment to the Reuters wire service. The sites drew attention to a Reuters photo of the Beirut skyline after a single Israeli explosive had landed; the skyline had been amateurishly altered to make the “Israeli bombardment” look far more extensive. Knowing that “if it bleeds; it leads,” and apparently desperate to sell his shot, the klutzy photographer had used Adobe Photoshop to take a portion of smoke and replicate it all over the Beirut sky. Reuters photo editors — who may have been harried, but who don’t tend to question charges of Israeli disproportionate force anyway — had released the doctored image to its billions of media-outlet subscribers.

Once that gaffe received public attention, the game was on. Dozens more doctored or staged Reuters photos came to light. In one, an elderly woman wore a headscarf, her arms raised to heaven as she stood in front of a crumbled building somewhere in Lebanon. The caption read, “A Lebanese woman wails after looking at the wreckage of her apartment, in a building, [sic] that was demolished by the Israeli attacks in southern Beirut.” The problem was that the same woman struck the same pose in front of other bombed buildings for Reuters photos. All received captions about a woman mourning the loss of her home. “Either this woman is the unluckiest multiple home owner in Beirut, or something isn’t quite right,” commented one blogger.

It’s not just the blogosphere. Israel has changed too. There’s a new generation of leaders. Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert’s critics say they’re too yuppie-ish, too clever by half, out of touch with military realities, and over-dependent on diplomacy. On the other hand, they are doing something that supporters of Israel have suggested for some time: They are rolling up their sleeves and make making an attempt to fight the “Other War,” the media war.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF), for example, has just launched a YouTube channel, and is using it to broadcast footage they say shows rockets launched from residential areas in Gaza. According the Jerusalem Post, it has become “the second-most popular channel on the popular global video-sharing site, drawing over 386,000 page views in the first half of Thursday alone. Meanwhile, the IDF has been in regular contact with over 50 major American blogs covering the fighting.” (Hamas supporters — not to be outdone — are trying to get YouTube to take the IDF footage down and put up their own footage of purported civilian casualties.)

And in the next a few days, Tzipi Livni will participate a sort of a mass, open conference call in which, according to the organizers, she will “brief participants on the latest developments in Israel’s efforts to stop Hamas terrorism, international reaction and diplomatic initiatives.” It’s unlikely this will actually work (an ordinary conference call is hard enough to set up), but the effort is significant.

Another factor affecting coverage is the Israelis’ controversial decision to keep reporters out of Gaza. (This is similar to Israel’s 2002 decision to bar the media from the Jenin refugee camp, a choice that’s debated to this day.) The media could make the shut-out a story in itself — setting up feet from the Gaza/Israel border and talking about “what Israel won’t let you see” — but given the reporters who have been kidnapped and held hostage reporting in Gaza, journalists seem almost relieved to have an excuse to stay out.

Further, keeping reporters out of the strip virtually forces them into besieged towns like Sderot, Ashkelon, and Beersheba in pursuit of the high drama news crews need. This is the kind of context — Israelis running for cover, Israeli towns under bombardment — that has been conspicuously missing until now.

Other facts on the ground have changed as well. Israel is now fighting Hamas, which makes no attempt to hide its aggressiveness. It proudly invites reporters to photograph their soldiers launching rockets into Israel. This is a huge contrast from Fatah, which strove to present a placid, diplomatic face to the world.

We are witnessing a new, chastened mainstream media. The blogosphere bludgeoning has worked. A superego has been created where there was none. Denizens of the blogosphere, the ones who over the last nine years have used the web to fight for truth in this conflict, should take a small victory lap — but then get back to their PCs.

— Stephanie Gutmann is the author of The Other War: Israeli, Palestinians and the Struggle for Media Supremacy.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YWJmOWFlYjhhN2FlODM0Y2Q4YjQyZmE4MGRjNjkzYTI=
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« Reply #438 on: January 07, 2009, 07:43:49 PM »

Militant Islam Threatens Us All
Hamas rockets have the same terror goal as Hitler's blitz.Article
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By BENJAMIN NETANYAHU
Imagine a siren that gives you 30 seconds to find shelter before a Kassam rocket falls from the sky and explodes, spraying its lethal shrapnel in all directions. Now imagine this happens day after day, month after month, year after year.

If you can imagine that, you can begin to understand the terror to which hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been subjected. Three years ago Israel withdrew from every square inch of Gaza. And since that withdrawal, our civilians have been targeted by more than 6,000 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza. In the face of this relentless bombardment, Israel has acted with a restraint that other countries, faced with a similar threat, would find hard to fathom. Israel's government has finally decided to respond.

For this action to succeed, we must first have moral clarity. There is no moral equivalence between Israel, a democracy which seeks peace and targets the terrorists, and Hamas, an Iranian-backed terror organization that seeks Israel's destruction and targets the innocent.

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In launching precision strikes against Hamas rocket launchers, headquarters, weapons depots, smuggling tunnels and training camps, Israel is trying to minimize civilian casualties. But Hamas deliberately attacks Israeli civilians and deliberately hides behind Palestinian civilians -- a double war crime. Responsible governments do their utmost to minimize civilian casualties, but they do not grant immunity to terrorists who use civilians as human shields.

The international community may occasionally condemn Hamas for putting Palestinian civilians in harm's way, but if it ultimately holds Israel responsible for the casualties that ensue, then Hamas and other terror organizations will employ this abominable tactic again and again.

The charge that Israel is using disproportionate force is equally baseless. Does proportionality demand that Israel fire 6,000 rockets indiscriminately back at Gaza? Does it demand an equal number of casualties on both sides? Using that logic, one would conclude that the United States employed disproportionate force against the Germans because 20 times as many Germans as Americans died in World War II.

In Today's Opinion Journal
 

REVIEW & OUTLOOK

The Winter Gas WarWaiting for DoddA Charter Setback in Florida

TODAY'S COLUMNISTS

Business World: Mad Men
– Holman W. Jenkins Jr.The Tilting Yard: An Unrepentant New Dealer Runs for Congress
– Thomas Frank

COMMENTARY

Iran's Hamas Strategy
– Reuel Marc GerechtBoost Private Investment to Boost the Economy
– Hal VarianThe GOP Should Fight Health-Care Rationing
– Tom PriceIn that same war, Britain responded to the firing of thousands of rockets on its population with the wholesale bombing of German cities. Israel's measured response to rocket fire on its cities has come in the form of surgical strikes. To further root out Hamas terrorists in a way that minimizes Palestinian civilian casualties, Israel's army is now engaged in a ground operation that places its soldiers in great peril. Carpet-bombing of Palestinian cities is not an option that any Israeli leader will entertain.

The goal of this mission should be clear: To end the current round of missile attacks and to remove the threat of such attacks in the future. The only cease-fire or diplomatic initiative that should be accepted is one that achieves this dual objective.

If our enemies assumed that the Israeli public would be divided on the eve of an election, they were wrong. When it comes to exercising our most basic right of self-defense, there is no opposition and no coalition. We stand united against Hamas because we know that only by defeating Hamas can we provide security for our people and hope for a future peace.

We fight to defend ourselves, but in so doing we are also fighting a fanatical ideology that seeks to reverse the course of history and throw the civilized world back into a new dark age. The struggle between militant Islam and modernity -- whether fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, India or Gaza -- will decide our common future. It is a battle we cannot afford to lose.

Mr. Netanyahu, Israel's ninth prime minister, is the chairman of the Likud Party and its candidate for prime minister.

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« Reply #439 on: January 07, 2009, 10:25:01 PM »

Two great videos

Rocketing Berlin, Paris and London

New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg
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« Reply #440 on: January 08, 2009, 08:43:02 AM »

I always find it interesting, how people given the same facts interpret issues differently.  And I too like this author wonder if the American Revolutionaries we honor would
have been called terrorists today?  Or the Zionists who built modern day Israel; were they too "terrorists" given today's definition?


Hopes for change are placed in the new U.S. administration. But already the Obama appointments make it clear that the militarization and Israelization of U.S. policies is beyond reversal.

Do not expect much enlightenment from our superficial Western media. As with the economic crisis, they can only look at what is thrust before their eyes, with little concern for cause and effect. The standard line says the Israeli attack on Gaza was brought on by Hamas launching rockets into Israel. Few want to ask what made Hamas engage in that suicidal rocketing in the first place, namely the the Israeli determination to hobble the Gaza economy, destroy the popularly elected Hamas regime and, as in the West Bank, humiliate its people.

A lot of brave people have been forced to choose death rather than continue to live as Nazi-style unter-menschen. If Gaza revives memories of the brave anti-Nazi Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto of 1945 I will be surprised. The anti-Islamist bias has sunk too deep.

Every so-called militant or "terrorist" our militaries manage to kill with such gusto leaves wives, families, friends and lovers determined to get revenge. Recently a woman whose Iraqi fiance had been killed by U.S. troops offered herself in grief as a suicide bomber. In the media her action was denounced as a new "terrorist" tactic. Her death was labeled as yet another "statistic" in the so-called war against "terror." ("Terror" is when you resist the invasion or occupation of your country. I wonder what the original U.S. revolutionaries would have said about this definition.)

In March 2008 a quiet, pacifist Palestinian student from a good family in East Jerusalem was so enraged after watching for hours on TV the bodies of women and children being pulled out from yet another brutal Israeli bombing in Gaza that in anger he went out and shot some Jewish religionists nearby before being himself killed. For the BBC he was no more than a "Palestinian gunman." For others he was just another "terrorist." Those in the West have to do better than this.

Gregory Clark is a former Australian diplomat.
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« Reply #441 on: January 08, 2009, 09:02:59 AM »

I always find it interesting, how people given the same facts interpret issues differently.  And I too like this author wonder if the American Revolutionaries we honor would have been called terrorists today?  Or the Zionists who built modern day Israel; were they too "terrorists" given today's definition?


The victors write the history books, all the more reason to make sure "we" win. I don't think the Israelis want to settle in Atlantis and I can't blame them.

Politics is the art of the possible. It would be possible for the two sides to sit down and come to an agreement. It is not possible for either side to throw the other into the sea.
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« Reply #442 on: January 08, 2009, 09:50:27 AM »

JDN:

Just when I think there's hope for you, you go and post something stupid and vapid like that. rolleyes

Our Founding Fathers taught their children to be suicide killers of women and children? 

"Few want to ask what made Hamas engage in that suicidal rocketing in the first place, namely the the Israeli determination to hobble the Gaza economy, destroy the popularly elected Hamas regime and, as in the West Bank, humiliate its people."

What drivel!  Israel's policies are a response to Hamas actively trying to destroy it!  What is so hard to understand here!?!?


Marc
===============================

By MARVIN HIER
The world-wide protests against Israel's ground incursion into Gaza are so full of hatred that they leave me with the terrible feeling that these protests have little to do with the so-called disproportionality of the Israeli response to Hamas rockets, or the resulting civilian casualties.

My fear is that the rage we see in the protesters marching in the streets is far more profound and dangerous than we would like to believe. There are a great many people in the world who, even after Auschwitz, just can't bear the Jewish state having the same rights they so readily grant to other nations. These voices insist Israel must take risks they would never dare ask of any other nation-state -- risks that threaten its very survival -- because they don't believe Israel should exist in the first place.

Just look at the spate of attacks this week on Jews and Jewish institutions around the world: a car ramming into a synagogue in France; a Chabad menorah and Jewish-owned shops sprayed with swastikas in Belgium; a banner at an Australian rally demanding "clean the earth from dirty Zionists!"; demonstrators in the Netherlands chanting "Gas the Jews"; and in Florida, protestors demanding Jews "Go back to the ovens!"

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How else can we explain the double-standard that is applied to the Gaza conflict, if not for a more insidious bias against the Jewish state?

At the U.N., no surprise, this double-standard is in full force. In response to Israel's attack on Hamas, the Security Council immediately pulled an all-night emergency meeting to consider yet another resolution condemning Israel. Have there been any all-night Security Council sessions held during the seven months when Hamas fired 3,000 rockets at half a million innocent civilians in southern Israel? You can be certain that during those seven months, no midnight oil was burning at the U.N. headquarters over resolutions condemning terrorist organizations like Hamas. But put condemnation of Israel on the agenda and, rain or shine, it's sure to be a full house.

Red Cross officials are all over the Gaza crisis, describing it as a full-blown humanitarian nightmare. Where were they during the seven months when tens of thousands of Israeli families could not sleep for fear of a rocket attack? Where were their trauma experts to decry that humanitarian crisis?

There have been hundreds of articles and reports written from the Erez border crossing falsely accusing Israel of blocking humanitarian supplies from reaching beleaguered Palestinians in Gaza. (In fact, over 520 truck loads of humanitarian aid have been delivered through Israeli crossings since the beginning of the Israeli counterattack.) But how many news articles, NGO reports and special U.N. commissions have investigated Hamas's policy of deliberately placing rocket launchers near schools, mosques and homes in order to use innocent Palestinians as human shields?

Many people ask why there are so few Israeli casualties in comparison with the Palestinian death toll. It's because Israel's first priority is the safety of its citizens, which is why there are shelters and warning systems in Israeli towns. If Hamas can dig tunnels, it can certainly build shelters. Instead, it prefers to use women and children as human shields while its leaders rush into hiding.

And then there are the clarion calls for a cease-fire. These words, which come so easily, have proven to be a recipe for disaster. Hamas uses the cease-fire as a time-out to rearm and smuggle even more deadly weapons so the next time, instead of hitting Sderot and Ashkelon, they can target Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

The pattern is always the same. Following a cease-fire brought on by international pressure, there will be a call for a massive infusion of funds to help Palestinians recover from the devastation of the Israeli attack. The world will respond eagerly, handing over hundreds of millions of dollars. To whom does this money go? To Hamas, the same terrorist group that brought disaster to the Palestinians in the first place.

The world seems to have forgotten that at the end of World War II, President Harry Truman initiated the Marshall Plan, investing vast sums to rebuild Germany. But he did so only with the clear understanding that the money would build a new kind of Germany -- not a Fourth Reich that would continue the policies of Adolf Hitler. Yet that is precisely what the world will be doing if we once again entrust funds to Hamas terrorists and their Iranian puppet masters.

In less than two weeks, Barack Obama will be sworn in as president of the United States. But there is no "change we can believe in" in the Middle East -- not where Israel is concerned. The double-standard continuously applied to the Jewish state proves that, for much of the world, the real lessons of World War II have yet to be learned.

Mr. Hier, a rabbi, is the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance.

 
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 10:11:03 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #443 on: January 08, 2009, 10:19:29 AM »

No no matter how hard one thinks about it, I don't get the idea of women and children being used as suicide bombers.  I find it
beyond comprehension and very sad.

In Today's LA Times
The Gaza blame game
Some common mistakes by Israelis, Hamas and the Bush administration.
Rosa Brooks

How to be stupid . . .
. . . Hamas style

Refuse to recognize Israel. Remind the world that the establishment of Israel in 1948 was accompanied by the often violent displacement of 700,000 Palestinians, but ignore the fact that more than 60 years have gone by, making it a bit late for a do-over. Ignore the fact that most Israelis weren't even born in 1948, and that Israel is recognized as legitimate by an overwhelming majority of the world's states. Keep insisting on its destruction.

Use suicide bombings and rocket attacks on civilian targets as a method of warfare. Don't stick to military targets. Instead, blow up civilians on buses and in cafes. Adopting a deliberate policy of war crimes and crimes against humanity helps ensure that few of the world's governments will want to go anywhere near you.

Get into vicious factional battles with fellow Palestinians. Why present a united front when you can fight with each other? Constant infighting gives the Israelis yet another reason to consider you a worthless interlocutor. And by driving rival party Fatah out of town, you can drive a wedge between Palestinians and give many Arab governments another reason to hope you fail.

Keep that cycle of violence going! The Israelis killed a Palestinian? Quick, fire a barrage of rockets toward Israel. You know they'll respond with even greater force. Be stubborn and keep up those rocket attacks! Israeli bombs can't tell the difference between your fighters and Gaza's schoolchildren. Let the civilians pay the price for your "brave" resistance.


. . . Israel style

Never pass up a chance to rub salt in open wounds. Keep on building settlements in occupied territory. Stuff like that. Ya know?

Undermine and isolate potential interlocutors who might be able to represent the Palestinians. First, destroy Palestinian Authority infrastructure and withhold funds and supplies needed for critical social services, thus helping to push ordinary Palestinians into the arms of Hamas, with its ample social services programs funded by Iran and private Arab donors. Then, when Hamas wins Palestinian elections, isolate Gaza and undermine Hamas.

Be trigger happy. A recent statistical analysis by three academics (one at MIT, one at Harvard and one from Tel Aviv University) found that an overwhelming majority of lulls in violence since 2000 (when the second intifada began) ended when Israelis killed Palestinians, sparking renewed tit-for-tat violence. According to Nancy Kanwisher, Johannes Haushofer and Anat Biletzki, "79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks." The pattern was "more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. ... Of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%." Always give war a chance!

Carry out intense aerial attacks on densely populated civilian areas. Civilians in the Gaza Strip are fenced in -- the sea on the west and heavily guarded borders on the land perimeter. As Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian surgeon working at a Gaza hospital, put it, the aerial bombardment of Gaza is like "bombing 1 1/2 million people in a cage."

Heavy civilian casualties are inevitable -- like those from the Israeli strikes on Tuesday that damaged three United Nations schools, killing at least 48.

Complain about unfair media coverage, but don't let any Israeli or foreign journalists into Gaza (in defiance of the Israeli Supreme Court, which has ordered that a limited number of journalists must be allowed in). That way, nearly all news coming out of Gaza will come from Palestinian journalists.

Don't have a plan. Start bombing Gaza to eliminate the Hamas capacity to fire rockets and mortars at Israel. Realize, as the Palestinian death toll approaches 700, that Hamas rocket attacks on Israel are still ongoing, there's no obvious military solution short of leveling Gaza, international dismay is rising, and you don't really have a game plan. Continue to play it by ear -- it's just a war.


. . . Bush style

Avoid opportunities to push for a rapid end to the conflict. Wring your hands every now and then, but don't engage seriously with European, Turkish or Arab actors anxious to propose compromises that could end the conflict. Block a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a temporary cease-fire on the grounds that it doesn't offer a durable solution.

In general, sit back and relax. It's just the Middle East exploding again. It's just a harbinger of ongoing suffering, regional instability and global terrorism. No big deal. Let the new guy handle it.


. . . Palestinian civilian style

Be born in Gaza. Well, that was dumb of you, wasn't it? Next time, try to be born in London or San Francisco.
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« Reply #444 on: January 08, 2009, 10:31:02 AM »

Israelis and Palestinians: Who's David, Who's Goliath?
TownHall ^ | January 8, 2009 | Larry Elder


Much of the world buys the line -- peddled by the Palestinians and the Arab Muslim world and, indeed, many Western countries -- that paints Israel as the bad "Goliath" that "stole" the land from the "Palestinians."

Israel gave Gaza self-rule in 1994, unilaterally withdrawing the last of its citizens and soldiers from Gaza in 2005. Hamas, voted into power via free elections in 2006, fought and defeated their political and military rival, Fatah, to seize de facto control of Gaza in 2007. In the past eight years, Hamas has fired more than 10,000 rockets and mortars into Israel -- 7,000 of them after Israel's 2005 withdrawal. With improved technology -- reportedly assisted by Iran -- Hamas' rockets can now fly 24 miles before impact and explosion, thereby threatening, injuring and killing more and more Israelis living in southern Israel.

But why the "disproportionate" response by Israel? Reportedly, more than 600 Palestinians have been killed, some civilians. Set aside for the moment that Hamas' charter specifically calls for the "obliteration" of the state of Israel. And set aside the fact that the Palestinian "militants" fight in heavily populated areas, assuring, indeed encouraging (for PR purposes) civilian casualties.

We turn our attention to the "stolen" allegation.

Israel lies in the ancient Fertile Crescent's southwest corner, with some of the oldest archeological evidence of primitive towns and agriculture. Historians and archeologists believe the Hebrews probably arrived in the area in the second millennium B.C. The nation itself was formed as the Israelites left Egypt during the Exodus, believed to be in the late 13th century B.C.

The 12 tribes of Israel united in about 1050 B.C., forming the Kingdom of Israel. David, the second king of Israel, established Jerusalem as Israel's national capital 3,000 years ago. Jewish kingdoms and states existed intermittently in the region for a millennium.

After conquests by Babylonians, Persians and Greeks, an independent Jewish kingdom was briefly revived in 168 B.C., but Rome took control in the next century, renaming the land of Judea "Palestine" after the Philistines, historical enemies of the Israelites'.

Invading Arabs conquered the land from the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantines) in A.D. 638 and attracted Arab settlers. Within a few centuries, the Arab language and Islam prevailed, but a Jewish minority remained. After a brief period of prosperity, waves of invasions and changes of control followed, including rule by the non-Arab empires of the Seljuks, Mamelukes and European crusaders, before becoming part of the Ottoman Empire from 1517 until 1918.

The crusaders massacred thousands of Jews, along with Muslims, in the 11th century. But soon thereafter, European Jews established centers of Jewish learning and commerce. By the time the Ottoman Turks occupied Palestine in the 16th century, according to British reports, as many as 15,000 Jews lived in Safed, which was a center of rabbinical learning. Many more Jews lived in Jerusalem, Hebron, Acre and other locations. By the middle of the 19th century, Jews constituted a significant presence -- often a majority -- in many towns.

Still, in the 19th century, the Holy Land looked mostly like a vast wasteland. When Jews began to return to their "promised land" early in the 20th century, the desert literally began to bloom under their industry. Arabs followed, coming in large numbers for the jobs and prosperity.

After four centuries of Ottoman rule, Britain took the land in 1917 and pledged in the Balfour Declaration to support a Jewish national homeland there. In 1920, the British Palestine Mandate was recognized. A declaration passed by the League of Nations in 1922 effectively divided the mandated territory into two parts. The eastern portion, called Transjordan, would later become the Arab Kingdom of Jordan in 1946. The other portion, comprising the territory west of the Jordan River, was administered as Palestine under provisions that called for the establishment of a Jewish homeland.

The United Nations, in 1947, partitioned the area into separate Jewish and Arab states along meandering and indefensible boundaries. The Arab world, insisting that any Jewish claim to Palestine was invalid, staunchly refused to compromise or even discuss the subject.

When Israel's independence was declared in 1948, Arab forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq combined to crush the 1-day-old country. They lost. Still, Egypt occupied most of the Gaza Strip, and Transjordan (calling itself "Jordan") held most of the West Bank and half of Jerusalem. Neither Arab country gave the "Palestinians" a state.

The word "Palestinian," as employed today, is a relatively recent term. Until the end of the British mandate over Palestine, in 1948, all inhabitants of the area west of the Jordan River were known as "Palestinians." A Jewish person living in what is now Israel was a "Palestinian Jew." An Arab living in the area was a "Palestinian Arab." Likewise, a Christian was known as a "Palestinian Christian."

Israel won more land after a series of wars, land since returned or offered for return in exchange for peace. The Jews "stole" nothing.

http://townhall.com/columnists/LarryElder/2009/01/08/israelis_and_palestinians_whos_david,_whos_goliath
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #445 on: January 08, 2009, 10:38:34 AM »

Rayyan Trained His Kids to Die
 
by Maayana Miskin

(IsraelNN.com) When Hamas leader Nizar Rayyan was assassinated in an IAF strike last week, his four wives and 11 of his children died with him. According to his surviving children, the death of the Rayyan family children was not an accident: Rayyan had trained his wives and children to die with him as "martyrs."

Surviving family members spoke to local Arab media and said that in the days before his death, Rayyan had repeatedly asked his children, "Who wants to die with me as a martyr?" The children would respond, "Yes, daddy, we all want to be with you alive or dead."

Rayyan's adult daughter, Wala, said even the younger children wished to die with their father. "If you had asked my four-year-old sister Aisha, who died in the attack, she would have told you that she preferred to die as a martyr," Wala told Ma'an news.

One of Rayyan's daughter-in-laws said she was offered the chance to die with the family. She stopped by the family's large home in Jabaliya and was asked by Rayyan if she wished to die with him, his wives and their children. She agreed to die, but later left the building, shortly before the IAF strike.

As it turned out, when Rayyan offered his daughter-in-law the "opportunity" to die he had already received a phone call from the IDF warning him to evacuate his house due to an impending airstrike.

The 11 children who died with Nizar Rayyan ranged in age from one year old to 16. Another son died years earlier when Rayyan sent him to carry out a suicide bombing in Gaza. Two Israelis were murdered in that attack.

Rayyan was one of Hamas' extremist preachers, and believed that those who die fighting Israel die as "martyrs" and go directly to paradise. He encouraged his followers to have several wives and as many children as possible, in order to provide future soldiers in the fight against Israel. He also encouraged Hamas to take over Judea and Samaria and carry out suicide attacks targeting Jews.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/129290
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DougMacG
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« Reply #446 on: January 09, 2009, 09:33:04 AM »

Denny had a recent post titled 'Two Great Videos'.  I agree with Michael Bloomberg.

At the other end of the spectrum, here is the congressman from CAIR, Minneapolis Representative Kieth Ellison on al Jazeera, trying to be persuasive the other way.  For Americans who believe there is moral equivalence between one side who wants to protect its own citizens and the other who intentionally endangers their own while they bomb and terrorize the innocent people that they hate, you can have our congressman.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWb2rnOJBOA&
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captainccs
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« Reply #447 on: January 09, 2009, 11:33:08 AM »

YouTube - Children of Hamas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTGbP55HGi8

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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #448 on: January 09, 2009, 11:46:51 AM »

Yes, Israel Can Win in Gaza
Israel is significantly weakening Hamas – with Palestinian help.
By EDWARD N. LUTTWAK

It seems that most of the West's news reporters and pundits agree with Islamists everywhere that an Israeli victory in Gaza is impossible. They decry Israel's defensive attack on Hamas, prophesying an inevitable strengthening of Islamism among Palestinians and a dark future for the Jewish state.

How do our commentators come to this conclusion? They point, most frequently, to Israel's war with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, and echo Hezbollah's claim that it won a great victory. Indeed, this narrative goes, in launching their rockets at Israel, Hamas leaders were imitating Hezbollah's winning strategy.

In fact, Hezbollah was thoroughly shocked by the Israeli bombing campaign, and its supporters, who mostly live in southern Lebanon, are not likely to tolerate another wave of destruction caused by another Hezbollah attack. Even the inconclusive Israeli ground actions in Lebanon, which never involved more than six companies (roughly 600 men), resulted in the loss of some 400 Hezbollah fighters in direct face-to-face combat while Israel suffered only 30 casualties.

Of course, none of this prevented the Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah from claiming that he had won a great victory for God. Had his victorious claims actually been true, Israel should have been deterred from attacking Hamas. And by his logic, Israel would have cowered in fear of thousands of more rockets from Hamas, and the even more powerful rockets that Hezbollah would launch in tandem. Nasrallah certainly encouraged Hamas to attack Israel in language that implied he would intervene if a war ensued -- a credible promise had he really won a victory in 2006.

But as soon as the fighting started in Gaza, Nasrallah reversed the terms of his declarations -- threatening Israel if it attacked Lebanon (which of course nobody in Israel would want to do). When three rockets were fired from inside Lebanon on Thursday, Hezbollah wasted no time assuring the Israelis that it had nothing to do with it, and that it did not even have that type of rocket in their inventory. This is a familiar trope of the Palestinian experience. There is always some extremist leader ready to instigate the Palestinians to fight, implicitly promising his valiant participation -- until the fighting begins and the promises are forgotten in fear of Israeli retaliation.

Another familiar Palestinian experience is that the extremists can always prevail politically over the moderates, but in so doing they split Palestinian society. A key metric of this disunity is, in fact, the success of Israel's current war against Hamas.

Consider: According to Gaza sources, until the ground fighting started some 25% of the 500 dead were innocent civilians. The Israelis claimed that 20% of the casualties from the aerial attack were civilians. Either way, this was an extremely accurate bombing campaign. (Even in the 1991 and 2003 U.S. air campaigns against Iraq, when most of the bombs were already precision-guided, gross targeting errors killed many civilians.)

A targeting accuracy of 75% -- by the lowest estimate -- cannot have been merely obtained by overhead photography from satellites or reconnaissance aircraft, because few Hamas objectives were classic "high-contrast" targets such as bunkers or headquarters. Most targets were small groups of people in nondescript civilian vehicles that blend in with traffic, or inside unremarkable buildings. Nor could telephone intercepts have yielded much intelligence, because all Palestinians know that the Israelis have long combined voice recognition with cellular-grid location in order to aim missiles very accurately at single vehicles in traffic, or even at individuals standing about with their cellphones switched off.

So how did Israel do it? The only possible explanation is that people in Gaza have been informing the Israelis exactly where Hamas fighters and leaders are hiding, and where weapons are stored. No doubt some informers are merely corrupt, paid agents earning a living. But others must choose to provide intelligence because they oppose Hamas, whose extremism inflicts poverty, suffering and now death on the civilian population for the sake of launching mostly ineffectual rockets into Israel. Hamas completely disregards the day-to-day welfare of all Gazans in order to pursue its millenarian vision of an Islamic Palestine.

Some in Gaza must also resent Iran's role in instigating the barrage of rockets fired on Israel. And all must know that the longer-range rockets are supplied by Iran along with money for Hamas leaders, while ordinary Palestinians languish in poverty. Senior Hamas leader Nizar Rayan, killed on Jan. 1, was a poorly paid academic, yet he died with his four wives and 10 of his children in spacious quarters. He obviously had enough money to heed the Quranic injunction against marrying more wives than one can afford. That too must arouse bitter opposition among poor Palestinian civilians, inducing some to help Israel target Hamas. Perhaps these informers include Fatah members, further antagonized by persecution. Last week alone, some 50 were reportedly tortured by Hamas.

Hamas won the 2006 election because it was the only available alternative when a majority of voters were disgusted by Fatah's blatant corruption. Since then, many nonfundamentalist Palestinians have been oppressed by the puritanical prohibitions imposed by Hamas, while all Gazans have been greatly impoverished.

There is no evidence that support for Fatah has therefore increased, or that its surviving leaders could still rally their followers. This reality sets an upper limit on what Israel can achieve by ground combat -- it cannot change the regime.

What Israel can do is weaken Hamas further in its current ground operations by raiding targets that cannot be attacked from the air -- typically because they are in the basements of crowded apartment buildings -- and by engaging Hamas gunmen in direct combat. Simply reducing the combat strength of Hamas is crucial, as it was in 2006 against Hezbollah, because while many like to parade dressed in the robes of martyrs, when there is actual fighting enthusiasm rapidly wanes.

With few exceptions, Israeli ground forces are not advancing frontally but are instead mounting a multiplicity of raids. If their target intelligence remains as good as it was during the air attack, they will run out of targets in a matter of days. That is when a cease-fire with credible monitoring would be possible and desirable for both sides as the only alternative to renewed occupation.

Hamas will claim a win no matter what happens, but then so did Hezbollah in 2006. And yet, for the most part, Hezbollah remains immobile and the Israeli northern border with Lebanon remains quiet. If Israel can achieve the same with Hamas in Gaza, it would be a significant victory.

Mr. Luttwak, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is the author of "Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace" (Belknap, 2002).


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ccp
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« Reply #449 on: January 09, 2009, 11:54:57 AM »

"It seems that most of the West's news reporters and pundits agree with Islamists everywhere that an Israeli victory in Gaza is impossible"

My response is let Hamas and Islamics everywhere know that they cannot succeed in driving Jews out of Israel.  Until the media gets that message out we will see them playing the media game.
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