Israel Archives

*Now* They Want to Negotiate

Where were you fellas for the past 2 years?

Former US president Jimmy Carter and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan wish to arrive in Israel in the coming months in order to help negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Army Radio reported.

(Hat tip: Meryl Yourish, where she lists a number of other new stories worth your time.)

Kinda’ gives you a peek into their heads.  A ceasefire is to get combatants to stop firing.  But apparently hundreds of Qassam rockets aren’t considered "firing" to these guys.  Or, more likely, it’s only "firing" if Israel is doing it.

And this is revealing as well.

According to the report, Israel is opposed to the initiative, but officials said that Jerusalem would be well advised to try and channel the visit into a positive track so as not to damage the country’s image in the media.

Don’t know who these officials might be, but it’s interesting to note that Carter and Annan are just shills, knowingly or not, for the Hamas PR machine.  Are these the kinds of naive negotiators we need in the Middle East?  (Hint: No.)

I know I’ve been on this kick the past few days, but this sort of foolishness and outright bias doesn’t seem to get enough notice generally.

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UN Rises From Its Slumber

…to, of course condemn Israel.  But first, some background.

ASHKELON, Israel (AP) – Residents of this beachside city are still coming to terms with being on the front lines of Israel’s battle against Hamas militants.

A dozen long-range rockets slammed into Ashkelon over the weekend, marking a significant turning point in the conflict and compelling Israel to strike back hard.

"Until yesterday, I never would have believed that I would see the things I saw," said Rachel Shimoni, 66, as she stood amid shards of glass, blown out of the front window of her clothing store. "All of a sudden, the reality has changed."

Palestinian militants fire rockets nearly daily at Sderot and other Israeli border towns near Gaza. But by reaching Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people about 11 miles north of Gaza, Hamas raised the stakes considerably. It is one of the largest cities in southern Israel, home to Mediterranean beaches, a college and strategic installations like an electric plant and a water purification plant.

Gaza militants have managed to hit the outskirts of Ashkelon in rare instances in the past, but the latest fighting was the first time they’ve been able to do it on a regular basis.

The intent is clear; Sderot is small potatoes, so with the help of Iranian rockets, the Palestinians have upped the ante and can now fire at a larger population center. 

Rockets have been raining down in souther Israel for 2 years, and when does the UN start the loud condemnations?  On the very day when Israel returns fire.

GAZA (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Israel for using "excessive" force in the Gaza Strip and demanded a halt to its offensive after troops killed 61 people on the bloodiest day for Palestinians since the 1980s.

Addressing an emergency session of the Security Council in New York after four days of fighting in which 96 Palestinians have been killed, many of them civilians,

And, oh yeah, …

Ban also called on Gaza’s Islamist militants to stop firing rockets.

But that call didn’t come until Israel defended itself.  Odd, that.  But now, what should this august body do?

Diplomats said the Security Council was unlikely to adopt a Libyan resolution that condemns Israel’s killing of civilians but makes no mention of the Palestinian rocket fire.

Can you say "blind spot"?

The United States, Israel’s closest ally and a veto-wielding member of the Council, made clear its understanding of the Israeli position, while regretting loss of life on both sides.

"There is a clear distinction between terrorist rocket attacks that target civilians and action in self-defense," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

European diplomats said they believed the world body should at least make some comment on bloodshed which some say jeopardizes the new U.S.-backed peace talks between Israel and Abbas, who holds sway now only in the occupied West Bank.

The UN once again demonstrates the term "self-parody" as they consider the possibility that they should make some comments on the bloodshed, again, after 2 years of rocket fire from Gaza.  Good morning, fellas, hope the noise of the bombs didn’t disturb your slumber.

And speaking of self-parody…

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said: "If Israeli aggression continues, it will bury the peace process."

Yes, well, it depends on your definition of "peace".  For the Arab world, and apparently for the UN as well, "peace" simply means bombing Israel with impunity.  It is this sort of inaction and selective action that has convinced me that the UN is utterly broken. 

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The Longsuffering of Israel

That’s all they can stands, they can’t stands no more.  (Apologies to Popeye.)

ASHKELON, Israel – Israel’s deputy defense minister warned on Friday of a disaster in the Gaza Strip after Israel activated an air raid system to protect a major city from increasingly threatening Palestinian rocket barrages.

As Israeli troops, tanks and aircraft went after Palestinian rocket operations, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Army Radio that Israel had "no other choice" but to launch a massive military operation in Gaza.

For over 2 years, ever since the good-faith move out of Gaza by the Israelis, the Palestinians have been flinging rockets from Gaza into southern Israel almost daily, mostly at Sderot.  But now, thanks to the ever-insistently-"peaceful" Iranians, the attacks are getting worse.

Israel evacuated its troops and settlers from Gaza in late 2005, but the rocket fire has persisted and this week became more ominous as Iranian-made rockets slammed into a major city.

Communities right over the Gaza border have taken the overwhelming brunt of the rocket attacks from Gaza, but militants firing longer-range Iranian rockets struck hit the town of Ashkelon several times on Thursday. One sliced through the roof of an apartment building and three floors below, and another landed near a school, wounding a 17-year-old girl.

The world gasps in shock whenever Israel retaliates in defense of their own people, aiming at military targets, but yawns in apathy when the Palestinians indiscriminately chuck explosives at civilians.  And at the UN, it’s all Israel’s fault.

Maybe, but only because they didn’t retaliate earlier.  Letting the bully continue to act out, without consequence, doesn’t stop the bullying.

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Shire Network News #117

Shire Network News #117 has been released. The feature interview is with Ezra Levant, who is the former publisher of Canada’s Western Standard newspaper, and who was famously hauled up in front of some sort of bogus Province of Alberta Kangaroo Court for a variety of thought crimes. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider This!"

Regular listeners to SNN will recall that in May of 2007 I talked about the children’s show "Tomorrow’s Pioneers", a Hamas-produced TV show that depicted a young girl and her mouse sidekick, named Farfur, meaning butterfly.  The purpose of Farfur was to indoctrinate Palestinian children to the idea of jihad and to demonstrate just how eeevil the Jews are.  Episodes on how to properly hold an AK-47 give you an idea of just how "charming" this show was.

At the time, the Palestinian government, aware of the PR fiasco it might be incurring, said they would nix the show.  When Hamas refused to stop airing the show, the government said that, well, OK, but they’d be watching it closely.

I’m sure they have, and here in February of 2008 the show is still going strong.  I guess in the world of the Palestinians, "oversight" simply means to watch.  These days, there is a new sidekick.  It’s a rabbit named Assud, meaning lion.  Either these Hamas producers enjoy this sort of cognitive dissonance, or they just didn’t have the requisite costumes. 

Assud’s arrival was required after his predecessor, Nahoul the bee, died because he couldn’t get to a hospital in Egypt for surgery.  Someone apparently didn’t tell him that Hamas took down that wall a few weeks ago.  Of course, Egypt’s feelings toward the Palestinians made a rapid change after that development; from "we support the Palestinians in their plight" to "hey, who invited you here?"  So it sounds like Nahoul still wouldn’t get his operation, and it still would be Israel’s fault.

Before Nahoul, Farfur himself died at the hands of an Israeli after Farfur wouldn’t sell his land and got punched out on camera.  The desensitizing of Palestinian children continues unabated, but it’s all "educational", doncha’ know?

So now Assud, the rabbit named "Lion", follows in these illustrious footsteps, vowing to liberate the Al-Aqsq mosque and the Palestinian "homeland".  Not exactly your typical Children’s Television Workshop faire.  Assud seeks martyrdom and intends to eat Jews, all while bringing "smiles and joy back to the children of Palestine".

Just remember, this is on a television station run by the terrorist group that is in power in the Palestinian territories.  This is the voice of a group that wants to be taken seriously on the world stage, and, unfortunately, is taken seriously by too much of the world.  They say they want to live in peace, but ingrain in their preschool children a hatred of and desire to kill their neighbors.  Until this sort of insanity stops, they cannot be taken seriously and cannot be taken at their word.  Peaceful is as peaceful does.  The rabbit named "Lion", who is teaching Palestinian children, isn’t.

Consider that.

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Shire Network News #115

Shire Network News #115 has been released. The feature interview is with Mark Steyn, talking about all the ways in which he is currently under investigation. In the first of a two part interview Mark joins us again and unleashes a torrent of witty and clever observation.. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

I did not submit a commentary for this week, but there are other good ones, including Meryl Yourish, who has found some fishy Scientology goings on in Sderot.

Remains of The Second Jewish Temple Found?

Might be.

Remains of the Jewish second temple may have been found during work to lay pipes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem, Israeli television reported Thursday.

Israeli television broadcast footage of a mechanical digger at the site which Israeli archaeologists visited on Thursday.

Gaby Barkai, an archaeologist from Bar Ilan University, urged the Israeli government to stop the pipework after the discovery of what he said is “a massive seven metre-long wall.”

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Bee Replaces Mouse as Kiddie Suicide Symbol

Ain’t Hamas television just so cute?

Hamas’s Al-Aqsa television station recruited a new children’s character to “continue” the legacy of its star martyr, Farfur – the Mickey Mouse lookalike who was beaten to death by an Israeli on the previous program.

The new character on the children’s show Tomorrow’s Pioneers, a bee named Nahool, tells the hostess he is Farfur’s cousin and that he wishes to “continue the path of Farfur… the path of martyrdom, the path of the Jihad warriors… and in his name we shall take revenge upon the enemies of Allah, the murderers of the prophets…” The expression “Murderers of the prophets” is an Islamic expression used by the PA religious leaders to refer to Jews. Defining the Jews as the enemies of God is common in PA religious broadcasting.

Entertaining and educational as always.

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Gaza, Meet Rock and Hard Place

The popularity of Hamas in Gaza is tanking. Color me unsurprised.

Hamas swept through Gaza last month, vanquishing numerically superior forces aligned with Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who responded by dismissing the Hamas-led government and installing a new one with his backers.

The poll of Gaza residents shows a backlash. Hamas got only 23 percent support, down from 29 percent in the previous survey last month, while Fatah climbed from 31 percent to 43 percent.

The poll, the first major survey since the Hamas takeover, also showed that 66 percent of Hamas supporters said they would vote Fatah if it undertook reforms.

The Rule of the Masked Gunman proves to be inferior to the Rule of Law. Apparently this is a lesson that the Gaza Palestinians just had to learn the hard way. And learn it they have, but at quite a price. But there’s a significant group of them that have learned even more; 43+23 = 68, so 32 percent don’t support either group. Hopefully, this key demographic will encourage another party into power and (even more hopefully) seek peace with Israel.

The Captain has more information about the state of the Gazans and their plight at the hands of Hamas. Why voting for a terrorist organization ever made sense is beyond me, but things might be — might be — looking better. From the article:

Trust in the Gaza-based deposed Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas stood at 37 percent, compared to 63 percent for Abbas. Prime Minister Sallam Fayad got higher trust marks than Haniyeh, 62-38 percent.

“A lot of people answering this question said we like Haniyeh more, but we want people who can really deliver,” Rabah said. “People are becoming more realistic.”

After 50 years of antagonism against Israel, it’s about time. Becoming more realistic would mean suing for peace. Let’s be watching to see how realistic they have become.

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Meryl Yourish gathers up the information. First off, here’s the first paragraph from the World Council of Churches web page about “Who Are We?”:

The World Council of Churches (WCC) is the broadest and most inclusive among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, a movement whose goal is Christian unity.

So this is a specifically Christian organization. Yet their “Latest News” page, as of now, has an article condemning the Israeli “occupation” and how it hurts human dignity, but absolutely nothing about this 3-day-old story on Muslims in Gaza attacking a Christian school and church. How about any stories about the endless rockets launched into Israel from Gaza ever since Israel held up their part of the peace process and pulled out? Nothing.

Nope, Israel is the big problem. Odd, then, that those in Gaza are fleeing…to Israel.

Many Christians said they were prepared to leave the Gaza Strip as soon as the border crossings are reopened.

Where they can’t get along and where they kill innocents in order to take power, the WCC is silent. But they condemn the country where the refugees flee to. What an awful double-standard.

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Only At the UN Does This Pass For “Reform”

I’ve criticized the UN on human rights before. Their Human Rights Commission was a sham and a joke, often headed by countries with the worst human rights abuses, and very often condemning those with better records on it while ignoring egregious acts by member states.

The Commission was disbanded in a “reform” move, and the Human Right Council was created. Living up to my low expectations, the Council is virtually identical to the Commission in its actions.

Members of the UN’s new human rights watchdog on Tuesday formally agreed to continue their scrutiny of Israel while halting investigations into Cuba and Belarus – a move that immediately drew fire from Canada and the United States.

Palestinians are trying to get into Israel to escape the human rights abuses in Gaza (the subject of an upcoming post). Yet they excuse Cuba, ignore Hamas and Fatah, and single out Israel. Such “myopic zeal”.

The United States – which is only an observer to the 47-nation body – has been skeptical since the beginning.

Any wonder?

The large Muslim and African groups, which dominate the council, had lobbied hard to minimize the scope for naming and shaming countries over their human rights records, …

Any wonder?

…but make an exception for Israel, the only government explicitly criticized so far by the body.

This is absolutely preposterous. The United Nations has absolutely no credibility in this area, and its pronouncements on this should no longer be taken seriously.

And if this is what they call “reform”, they make their own case for dismantling.

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