Sunday, March 01, 2015

After Egyptian refusals, French aid convoy to Gaza goes through Israel

After waiting for months to enter Gaza with a convoy of humanitarian items through Egypt, a French charity ended up going through - Israel.

The coordinator of the Baraka Foundation, Rami Abu Sultan, told a news conference Sunday morning: "The convoy arrived several months ago in Egypt to enter the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing, and remained in Port Said for several months without being allowed to access to the Gaza Strip because of the continued closure of the crossing...The convoy stayed in Egypt for more than three months when it decide to change the convoy path where it was transferred to Jordan, and replaced all the medicines and food that had expired. We then entered into the West Bank, in preparation for entry into the Gaza Strip."

The aid is said to be worth €300,000.

The news article said that the goods went through the Erez crossing, but I have never heard of goods going through Erez, only people. Probably the goods went through Beit Hanoun and then the Baraka people went through Erez to meet up with their donations again.

The convoy contains medical equipment, medicines, food parcels, heaters, solar chargers and clothing, according to the foundation.

The items will be delivered to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, which is known to take donated aid and then sell them to gain more cash for Hamas.

03/01 Links: Lumish: Give ‘Em Hell, Bibi!; The propaganda agents for Hamas; LATMA Ep4 !

From Ian:

Michael Lumish: Give ‘Em Hell, Bibi!
The reason that Obama is going to allow Iranian nuclear break-out capacity is because the US administration is endeavoring to turn the Islamist state into a regional strategic partner. It is also for this reason that the Obama administration is comfortable with Iranian expansion into Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, if not Iraq.
This is entirely unacceptable to the people of Israel – left, right, and center – and the Sunnis throughout the region are, for the most part, no happier about any of this than are the Jews. The only people who seem comfortable with Iranian nukes are Barack Obama and the Iranians, themselves.
If Obama gets his way, we will see an arms race throughout the Middle East with virtually every significant player scrambling to kick-start their own nuclear programs. There is certainly no possible way that Egypt will allow a nuclear armed Shia Iran without Cairo gaining that capacity, as well.
What is necessary is for the American people to make it clear to the Obama administration that we stand not only with the people of Israel, but with people the world over – most particularly in the Middle East – who understand that a nuclear-weaponized Iran is potentially disastrous enough that as a basic matter of common sense it must be prevented.
Obama is not up to this job, because his heart is clearly not in it. Obama the community organizer is comfortable with Iranian nukes.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the commando, clearly is not.
I say, give ‘em hell, Bibi.
Just tell ‘em the truth and they’ll think it’s hell.
Ben-Dror Yemini: The propaganda agents for Hamas
Norway will host a conference during the week ahead on Jews under Islamic rule. A read through the lecture program reveals that the central line of the conference will be that the Jews lived wonderful lives under Muslim rule, until the Zionists came along, snatched them from their Muslim health resort, and enslaved them in Israel. I may be selling some of the participants short; perhaps someone there will have something of value to say. It's been known to happen on occasion – even in the academe.
The thing is, the main guest from Israel, the great expert on the history of the Jews under Muslim rule, who is also a great expert on the situation of the Arab Jews under the rule of the Zionists, who is also the great expert on the situation of the Muslims under Jewish rule, is – hold on to your hats – Gideon Levy.
For the most part, Jews lived under Muslim rule as subjects of inferior status. Now and then there were periods, during a part of the Golden Age for example, in which Jews were generally accepted in society and Jewish religious, cultural, and economic life flourished.
When the Christians expelled the Jews from Spain, the Ottoman sultan was the one who invited them to settle in his empire. The colonial era saw another period of flourishing Jewish life under Muslim rule. These periods, however, were the exception.
Some academics have managed to turn the tables. They glorify the periods of coexistence. They hide the pogroms, the decrees, the abuse and the oppression. And they certainly hide the Jewish Nakba. The Jews didn't suffer from abuse and oppression because of Zionism. To the contrary. They became Zionists because of the abuse and oppression. But manipulating the facts will triumph once again – under the patronage of Gideon Levy and so-called academic freedom.
LATMA: We'll be the Judge, episode 4

Dabig #2: The Flood (Mike Lumish)

Dabiq2Dabiq is the official recruiting magazine of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and they publish in a number of languages, including English.

Dabiq # 1 re-established the Caliphate in the minds and hearts of the believers.

Let us look at how they express their ideology in Dabiq # 2.

"It is either the Islamic State or the Flood" issue number 2 dramatically declares.

What the organization claims to want is an all-out war with "Rome" and the "jews."

{The lower case J is obviously not a typo.  It is a childish way for a crude and barbaric people to demean imaginary enemies.}

And they want war to happen as soon as possible on the Plains of Dabiq in northeastern Syria, because one of the holy hadiths proclaimed it so:
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The Last Hour would not come until the Romans would land at al-A'maq or in Dabiq. 
At the close of this piece I will briefly give my views on how this horrendous madness relates, and does not relate, to either Muslims or Islam.

The first thing that I want to note about Dabiq # 2 is that the cover art is very good.  It is exceedingly slick and attractive in a way that I would generally associate with either western or far eastern magazines.

This is a polished bit of media and it is published both on-line and in paper format.

One thing to be said about the Islamic State is that - their hatred toward everyone non-Muslim aside - they are not racist.  I suspect that they would even accept me, were I to repent and make a perfect Muslim example of myself in the ways that they require... which would undoubtedly be non-stop fun, 24/7.

They do not care where you come from or what color your skin is.  The only thing that they care about is the intensity of your Koranically-based worship and your willingness to fight.

The spark has been lit here in Iraq, 

and its heat will continue to intensify – by Allah’s permission

– until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq. - Abu Mus’ab az-Zarqawi

They want war.  One of the primary questions that we need to ask ourselves is, should they get it?

The foreword to Dibaq # 2 also stresses the primary objective of recruiting as many Muslims as possible.

The first priority is to perform hijrah from wherever you are to the Islamic State, from darul-kufr to darul-Islam. Rush to perform it as Musa (‘alayhis-salam) rushed to his Lord, saying, {And I hastened to You, my Lord, that You be pleased} [Taha: 84]. Rush to the shade of the Islamic State with your parents, siblings, spouses, and children. There are homes here for you and your families.
As mentioned in my review of Dibaq # 1, the Islamic State seems to believe in social welfare.  Just as Hamas was elected in part because they seemed to care more about social programs than did Fatah, so the Islamic State stresses this kind of thing, as well, and I see no reason to doubt their sincerity.

As Graeme Wood writes in The Atlantic:
The Islamic State may have medieval-style punishments for moral crimes (lashes for boozing or fornication, stoning for adultery), but its social-welfare program is, at least in some aspects, progressive to a degree that would please an MSNBC pundit.
It then segues into an argument in opposition to democracy because:
This ideology teaches that no one has the right, regardless of whom he may be, to impose any creed or set of morals on anyone else even if that creed or set of morals is the truth revealed by Allah.
But the metaphor of The Flood is at the forefront of this issue.

Part 4:  The Flood is a Refutation of the Pacifists
Had the proponents of choice contemplated all this, they would have realized that the flood was a clear sign of the falseness of giving choice between truth and falsehood in da’wah. For the flood was the result and consequence of opposing the truth, and evidence that anyone who rejected the truth would be punished in the dunya before the Hereafter and would not have any choice in that regards.
Cat StevensThe publication is written in a deeply religious language that someone unfamiliar with the terminologies of Islam might find a tad difficult to follow, but the primary themes are obvious.

They want Muslims to join them.  They demand obedience and they anticipate war in an eschatological End-of Days scenario.

They are also not particularly fond of either Jewish people or the Jewish State of Israel... because Jews are the Eternal Cosmic Enemy.

The Fight Against the PKK

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) apparently represent what little may be available in terms of civil society in that part of the world and, therefore, are an enemy of the Islamic State:
Approximately ten years ago in neighbouring Sham, the marxist Kurds in the north founded a political opposition party called the PYD (Democratic Union Party), which shares the kufri ideology of Ocalan and is seen as being a Syrian front for the PKK...
The Islamic State did not hesitate to wage war against the communist murtaddin of the PKK/YPG, while simultaneously continuing their fight against the nusayri regime and the sahwat.
This is instructive because it clearly demonstrates that, at least for the moment, the Islamic State is primarily focused on the near enemy.  If they are to establish the Caliphate then they need to expand.  They are not like Qaeda, which can easily go underground.  They are significantly more ambitious than that.  If they are to establish the Caliphate they need legitimacy within the greater Muslim world and, in terms of crude power, that means they need increasing numbers and expanding territory.

The Obama strategy seems to be denying them their primary objective, which is war with the infidel West.  The wisdom of this approach is up to each of us to decide for ourselves... although I feel reasonably certain that Bill O'Reilly does not approve.

Much of Dabiq # 2 is concerned with infighting within political Islam in that part of the world and would be entirely opaque to even relatively sophisticated westerners.

Thus we have passages like this:
After this mubahalah, a number of issues quickly came to light. First of which, some of  the stories that ashShami used to claim that the Islamic State resisted Allah’s Shari’ah were shown to be fabrications and distortions, especially the claim that the Islamic State had asked adh-Dhawahiri to arbitrate between itself and the Jawlani rebels. Allah decreed that adh-Dhawahiri himself would negate ash-Shami in a speech (sadly his negation and speech themselves were also distortions of reality).
What any of that might mean is beyond the comprehension of anyone (specialists aside) who is not part of this exceedingly interesting, and remarkably vicious, subculture.

They are, by the way, not nearly the fan of Turkish president Erdogan that Barack Obama is:
When the secularist “Islamists” of Turkey won the recent elections, Islamic Front leaders congratulated the Erdogan secularists upon their renewed apostasy.

Understanding The Hikmah* in Allah’s Actions
* Arabic for "wisdom."
Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said, “I will mention a debate that occurred between me and some jews. I said to one of them – after he had denied the prophethood of the Prophet, ‘Your denial of his prophethood entails slandering the Lord of the universe, belittling Him, and attributing to Him the worst of all blemishes.
The Islamic State's primary objective is an apocalyptic war with the West, but Koranically-based hatred toward Jewish people is likewise central to this exceedingly ideologically-driven movement.

In the Words of the Enemy  

Mc CainAs in issue number one, Dabiq # 2 devotes a segment to what American and western politicians have to say about the organization.  There is no doubt but that they care very much about what we think and they are not big fans of "crusader" Senator, John McCain... but, then again, neither are most of my friends.

However, they acknowledge something that should be obvious.  George W. Bush toppled the power structure in Iraq and when Obama withdrew U.S. forces this lead to the power vacuum necessary for the Islamic State to fill.

McCain said this:

I come to the floor this morning with great sorrow and great concern and even deep alarm about the events that are transpiring rapidly in Iraq. ISIS the most extreme, Islamist organization – radical terrorist organization – now controls at least 1/3 of Iraqi territory and is rapidly gaining more. The areas of Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit, they are on the outsides of Samarra… with these victories ISIS controls a swath of territory that stretches from the Syrian-Turkish frontier in the north, down the Euphrates river, all the way down to the Iraqi city of Fallujah just forty miles west of Baghdad.
The writers of Dabiq # 2 do not comment on McCain's words.  They simply note them, but one gets the sense that they have considerable satisfaction in the fact that we in the West have taken notice of them.

Part of the reason that the Islamic State is as cruel as it is - aside from whatever psycho-sexual sado-masochistic gratification that the individual may gain from raping prepubescent children - is because they want our attention.  There is an obvious reason that they film and edit their atrocities to music.

They very much want to say "hello" because they want us to come visit.

In the final pages of issue number two, they celebrate stoning adulterous women to death and caring for orphan children.  It is an entirely bizarre juxtaposition between unimaginable cruelty and social welfare programs.  It is not clear from the text, but one must wonder if the child being cared for by the Islamic State is not the son of the woman they just pelted to death with rocks?

As for the question of whether or not the Islamic State is Islamic, the answer is that it certainly is.  As Wood put it, it is very Islamic.  But that does not mean that ISIS represents Muslims, as a whole.  Islam is a rather large thing.  It is 1.5 billion people who think about themselves and their religion in a complex variety of ways.  This type of violent and apocalyptic uber-fundamentalist Islam comes directly out of the religious tradition, but does so according to political circumstances on the ground.

That they are Islamic, however, is undeniable to anyone who would take a little time to go through Dabiq.

When Obama denies this, he is lying... but for the best of reasons, I am sure.

Michael Lumish is a blogger at the Israel Thrives blog as well as a regular contributor/blogger at Times of Israel and Jews Down Under.

Hamas shaken by Egyptian terror decision, so it celebrates terror

Hamas is very shaken up by this news:
The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters on Saturday ruled Hamas a terrorist organisation, a month after the group's military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, was also designated a terror group by the same court.
The verdict resulted from two separate private suits filed by Samir Sabry and Ashraf Said, both lawyers, against the de facto rulers of the Gaza Strip.

The relationship between Egypt's authorities and the Islamist group has soured since the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestinian sister organisation.

Egypt has accused Hamas of meddling into its internal affairs and supporting Islamist insurgents in Sinai, accusations that the group has repeatedly denied.

The court's reasoning on Saturday for designating Hamas a terrorist organisation mirrored its January Al-Qassam ruling.

In January, the court said that Al-Qassam's and Hamas' "support and financing of terrorist attacks in Egypt show that they have swayed from their original cause of fighting the Israeli occupation."

In recent months, the Egyptian government has been strengthening penalties for acts of terrorism in its penal code.

Last week, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has also signed a sweeping new anti-terrorism legislation to counter "Terrorist Entities".
Hamas wasted no time to stage rallies for their captive Gaza population, carefully stage-managing the signs that people would hold.

Yet even those signs celebrated Hamas terror, showing masked terrorists shooting rockets at Israeli civilians!

Hamas media started its counteroffensive, insulting Egypt and also celebrating Hamas terrorism.

They are also calling this "collective punishment" for Gazans.

Egyptians don't seem to be concerned about this in the least.

Is anyone else offended by Obama's comparing himself to Spock?

A tribute to a legendary actor is not the time to boost your own ego.

Pundits noticed that President Obama's statement on the death of Leonard Nimoy was also self-complimentary:
President Barack Obama offered his condolences — including a witty, backhanded reference to himself — after the death of actor Leonard Nimoy.

“Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy. And of course, Leonard was Spock,” Obama said in a statement. “Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed.”

“I loved Spock,” said Obama, who is often ribbed for the size of his ears and for his no-drama demeanor.
Of course, the Spock character didn't have Obama's big ears. He had pointy ears.

I would hardly characterize someone who has spent much of the last month plotting revenge against the leader of an ally for planning to accept an invitation to speak in front of Congress as "level-headed" and "logical."

But even if you are a fan of Obama, his using the occasion of Nimoy's death for self-aggrandizement is very inappropriate.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Botox treatments, cosmetic surgeries surge in Gaza

From Al Monitor, a story that has been picked up by French media in recent days:

Pregnancies significantly changed Safa Ahmad's physical appearance, which began to affect her marriage and cause her psychological problems. About five months ago, Safa, a 28-year-old living in Gaza City, had breast implants in the hope they would help her feel better psychologically and improve things at home.

“My husband wanted to marry someone else because of the changes in my looks after I gave birth to three sons," she told Al-Monitor. "But by coincidence, I heard about cosmetic surgeries in Gaza, and I suggested to my husband that I have one. He immediately agreed, so I got silicon breast implants, and they drastically changed my looks as well as my marital and family life. My husband then let go of the idea of marrying someone else.”

It's not only women in Gaza getting cosmetic surgery. Men are also having it. Ahmad Hassan, 32, felt stuck in life after a number of girls rejected his proposals of marriage because wrinkles on his face made him look like a man in his 50s.

“I had cosmetic surgery to remove the wrinkles covering my face so I could have a normal life and find a girl who accepts me. Dozens of girls rejected me before I had the wrinkles removed," he told Al-Monitor. "About two weeks after the operation, I was in a relationship.”

[Dr. Salah Zaanin, a cosmetic and laser surgery consultant,] said that the most common procedures in Gaza are liposuction, breast augmentation and “tummy tucks” for women. Tightening eyelids and removing bags under the eyes are popular as well. “In the past month, using Botox to fill and remove wrinkles in men and women rose by 600% in my clinic, indicating that despite the blockade and the stress, we are trying to be happy by looking better," Zaanin said. "In addition, there has been a 300% increase in lip augmentation and beautification.”

The economy, of course, still plays a role in the demand for certain types of operations even with the prices in Gaza being low compared to other countries. Zaanin said that the fees for cosmetic surgeries in the Gaza Strip are the lowest in the world and that they depend on the materials used in a procedure. “Cosmetic surgeries range in price from $1,000 to $2,000, while nonsurgical [silicon injections] cost up to $300," Zaanin said. "Therefore, all social classes are resorting to cosmetic surgery. For example, the poor opt for low-priced operations. Everyone should have the right to enjoy and live life, and I feel happy when I can make that happen for someone.”
But from the media I thought that all Gazans were homeless, jobless and starving!

(h/t Rudi)

02/28 Links: Europe Without Jews?; Telling lies: The one and only strategy of anti-Zionists

From Ian:

Europe Without Jews?
Even if many Muslims came to Europe seeking economic opportunity, they are often defined as victims of racism and oppression. So, the thinking goes, if you are a victim of racism and oppression, how can you be racist yourself?
The Palestinians repeat almost daily that they would like to kill the Israelis, while the Israelis say they would like peace. What follows are usually bitter, politically-motivated denunciations of Israel by Europe, masquerading as human rights.
Despite the increasingly savage state of the world and an openly genocidal Iran -- soon to be nuclear, if it is not already -- Israeli leaders remain the ones Europeans love to accuse, hate and demonize.
The terrorist attacks are denounced by journalists and political leaders, but their denunciations always sound sanctimonious and thin, condemning the "anti-Semitism" they themselves have been encouraging.
In Europe today, slandering Israel is widely conveyed by European Muslims, and if a political leader or journalist does not agree with what they say, he must be a racist.
There are now 44 million Muslims in Europe.
Ben Shapiro: First They Came for the Jews
President Obama does not stand up for Jews murdered by Islamic Terrorists. President Obama does not stand up for Christians murdered by Islamic Terrorists. Is there anyone President Obama will stand up for? Ben Shapiro explains why the answer is probably 'no.'
After a Muslim terrorist shot up a kosher supermarket in the hours after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, President Obama spoke out. He said:
It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you've got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.
Randomly. Obviously, the shooting of Jews in a kosher supermarket was not random. In fact, we have proof: the shooter called the media and stated, “I targeted them because they were Jewish.”
Why didn’t Obama acknowledge the reality of Islamic anti-Semitism? Because were he to do so, he would have to acknowledge that Israel is right and its enemies are wrong, that no territorial concessions would buy off Muslim religious fanatics. He would have to realize that whether radical Muslims attack Jews in Jerusalem or in Paris, they’re attacking Jews, not stand-ins for Israel.
Ben Shapiro: First They Came for the Jews

Why Bibi’s Speech Matters
The emerging nuclear deal with Iran is indefensible. The White House knows it. That is why President Obama does not want to subject an agreement to congressional approval, why critics of the deal are dismissed as warmongers, and why the president, his secretary of state, and his national security adviser have spent several weeks demonizing the prime minister of Israel for having the temerity to accept an invitation by the U.S. Congress to deliver a speech on a subject of existential import for his small country. These tactics distract public attention. They turn a subject of enormous significance to American foreign policy into a petty personal drama. They prevent us from discussing what America is about to give away.
And America is about to give away a lot. This week the AP reported on what an agreement with Iran might look like: sanctions relief in exchange for promises to slow down Iranian centrifuges for 10 years. At which point the Iranians could manufacture a bomb—assuming they hadn’t produced one in secret. Iran would get international legitimacy, assurance that military intervention was not an option, and no limitations on its ICBM programs, its support for international terrorism, its enrichment of plutonium, its widespread human rights violations, and its campaign to subvert or co-opt Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria. Then it can announce itself as the first Shiite nuclear power.
And America? Liberals would flatter themselves for avoiding a war. Obama wouldn’t have to worry about the Iranians testing a nuke for the duration of his presidency. And a deal would be a step toward the rapprochement with Iran that he has sought throughout his years in office. The EU representative to the talks, for example, says a nuclear agreement “could open the way for a normal diplomatic relation” between Iran and the West, and could present “the opportunity for shaping a different regional framework in the Middle East.” A regional framework, let it be said, that would leave American interests at risk, Israel one bomb away from a second Holocaust, nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East, and Islamic theocrats in charge of a large part of a strategic and volatile region.
I feel safer already.

Friday, February 27, 2015

An IDF officer destroys a libel

A person asks a loaded, biased question on Quora:

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in 2015: Why is there no condemnation of Israel's use of flechette projectiles on civilians?http://www.theguardian.com/world...IDF used these bombs on civilians in Gaza and no one uttered a word ocondemnation.
Noam Kaiser (Israeli. And a damn proud one too) answered:

For the same reason there should be no condemnation of Jewish squeezing of live Christian baby blood for Matzos on Passover.

It isn't true.

I'm an operations officer of an armor brigade in the IDF and participated in Operation Protective Edge.

The type of armament you describe was not used in the operation by a single tank in Gaza. But I suspect the OP [original poster - EoZ] already knew that.

50 minutes later, I dug deeper and now I see exactly what is going on here. Before elaborating, here are two anti-israeli tactics that you (the readers) have just witnessed live:

  1. Take a single event and make it look like common conduct to smear the IDF's image.
  2. Tell short lies, it will force the Israelis to answer long, and no one will listen to them.

Now, as always, I give Quora users more credit than that, so here is the long truth:

  1. The OP wrote "IDF used these in Gaza" to make you believe this happened in Operation Protective edge, July 2014. The attached article by the Guardian dates to 2009.
  2. Flechettes are an ammunition that in 2009, matched only one type of tank in the IDF used by only one of it's northern units, Brigade 7 in Lebanon, and the ammo was in use up until a few years ago. It is the oldest tank in the IDF, all others have larger size main guns, and - yes - no flechette ammo.
  3. In Lebanon flechettes were used against Hezbollah, as they were engaged in the valleys of South Lebanon outside of cities and villages.
  4. In December 2008, after an ongoing bombardment of the Israeli south by Hamas rockets, the IDF launched operation Cast Lead.
  5. One of the Brigade 7 regiments was rushed south from the northern front, with the ammo its tanks carried.
  6. On the 14th of January 2009 (third week of the operation), one of the regiment's tanks, whose commander never served in Gaza and was unaware flechettes were not to be used in Gaza, fired three rounds at Hamas Gunmen. He did not "target" civilians with flechettes.
  7. This tragedy came known to IDF southern command the same day in debrief, and the tanks from the one regiment that had them were ordered to ensure they are not in use, during the operation, which ended three days later.
  8. Note: The IDF made the decision not to use flechettes in Gaza in 2002, this remained in place even after the Israeli Supreme Court concluded in 2003, they were not a weapon banned by any international treaty.

Anyone who knows something of urban warfare knows, that sterile combat is not a real option - especially facing terrorists organizations like Hamas which expose civilians intentionally (more on that later), and unfortunately two civilians were also hit.

Now, the OP would have you believe the following:
  1. Firing flechettes in Gaza is common conduct.
  2. It happened recently.
  3. Civilians are "targeted".
These are three lies. But it takes time to explain that.

As elaborated earlier, I am an IDF armor corps officer, ranking major. I have served for 5 years in regular service, and another 15 in reserves, which I still do. I served in Gaza, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Lebanon, engaging in Combat against Hamas, and Hezbollah terrorists, in urban setting as well, several times.

I know much more than the OP what the IDF does to avoid civilian casualties and what Hamas does to increase them.

Another officer, British Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded NATO forces in several fronts,  knows much more than me and of course,  more than the OP, about this challenge.  Here is what Kemp had to say about the IDF - and Hamas - in the Gaza conflict of 2009:

"Hamas is Expert at Driving Media Agenda," British Commander Tells U.N. Debate          

Long answer, I know.  But I'm sure you prefer it over short lies.
(h/t L. King)

02/27 Links Pt2: Palestinian Terrorism Verdict Shatters Long-Held Myths

From Ian:

Palestinian Terrorism Verdict Shatters Long-Held Myths and Illusions
The illusion is shattered. When confronted with claims of complicity in terror attacks, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) can no longer lift their hands and say in puzzlement, “Who, me?”
And what will the court ruling do?
First, it will help the Western world to understand that the long-held fiction that the Palestinians are not responsible for their actions must be discarded. He didn’t get many things right about the Middle East, but what Edward Said called the “orientalism” of the West—the treatment of Palestinians as children who did not know better—allowed the PA and PLO to duck from responsibility for terrorist acts carried out under their watch, and worse, with their supervision and/or material support.
Second, it should convince the US government that the victims must be allowed to collect their financial awards. If not out of the of the $400 million in US aid money sent annually to the PA, the reparations should come out of other assets of the PA in the US and assist the victims to reach PA money in Europe.
Third, hitting the PA hard—in the pocketbook—should force the Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, et al., to accept the fact that they cannot continue to pay terrorists sitting in prison or provide stipends to the families of murderers. More importantly, it might force the Palestinians living under their thumbs to say, once and for all time, “no” to the continued sponsorship and glorification of terrorists.
Katy Perry Visits Auschwitz, Warns Others to Learn from History
Pop singer Katy Perry took some time away from the music Wednesday to pay a visit to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, where more than one million people were murdered in the Holocaust of the Second World War.
After performing in Krakow, Poland the night before, Perry shared her trip to the former Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camps with followers on Instagram.
“My heart was heavy today,” she said, before asking fans to let the site remain “a cry of despair and a warning to humanity.”
She also paraphased philosopher George Santayana, stating: “The one that does not remember history is bound to live through it again.”
Madonna: European intolerance ‘feels like Nazi Germany’
Rebounding from her stage tumble at the Brit awards, pop star Madonna told French radio Thursday that “intolerance” was now so high in France and Europe that “it feels like Nazi Germany.”
Speaking to Europe 1 radio in an interview to be aired Friday morning, Madonna said “anti-Semitism is at an all-time high” in France and elsewhere in Europe, and likened the current atmosphere to the period when German fascism was on the ascent.
“We’re living in crazy times. It feels like Nazi Germany,” the 56-year-old singer said, calling the situation “scary,” and lamenting what she described as France’s lost tradition of welcoming diversity and honoring freedom.
“It was a country that embraced everyone and encouraged freedom in every way, shape or form — artistic expression of freedom,” Madonna said. “Now that’s completely gone.
70 years since WWII - Amb. Prosor Addresses UNGA
"Seventy years ago, with the ashes of World War II still smoldering, the victors of the war came together to establish the UN and ensure that “Never Again” will not be a hollow promise.
Today the values at the very heart of this institution are being threatened by extremist ideologies that target our way of life. From West Africa to the Middle East, extremists group have unleashed a plague of persecution believing that by silencing individuals, they can silence civilization."

AFP publishes a detailed retraction of #FloodLibel (UPDATE: Video)

Even though it is days too late, it is the best demolition of the "flood libel" that the mainstream media has published yet:

Tzeelim (Israel) (AFP) - Once again this winter, following days of very heavy rainfall across the region, the banks of a riverbed running through central Gaza were breached, flooding dozens of Palestinian homes.

For the residents, there was no doubt: Israel was responsible after deliberately opening "a dam" to flood the enclave.

But an examination of the facts on the Israeli side tells another story, shattering a long-held Palestinian myth.

People living in Wadi Gaza say flooding happens every year after heavy rain, creating yet another challenge for those struggling to survive in the tiny coastal territory.

Residents of the Gaza Strip have lived through three wars in the past six years and are unable to leave due to an Israeli blockade.

That Israel, the invisible enemy on the other side of the fence, would flood Gaza in a bid to make life even worse is therefore accepted as fact -- as is the alleged existence of one or more dams upstream controlled by the Jewish state.

Following the latest flood at the weekend, the local authorities in Gaza on Sunday published an "urgent" statement which reiterated the claim that Israel was to blame.

AFP reported these allegations on Sunday February 22, in the form of a video and photos showing the flooding in the village of Al-Mughraqa in central Gaza.

The script of the video and the photo captions said Israel had opened the sluice gates of a dam. And the video included interviews with residents openly accusing the Jewish state.

The AFP images, in particular the video, unleashed a scathing response on social networks.

The Israeli authorities denied the information and said they had allowed four high-power water pumps into Gaza ahead of the storm in order to cope with any potential flooding.

The criticism was even more acute because Israel itself had suffered from flooding in the south.

Al-Mughraqa is located on the edge of Wadi Gaza, a river which is dry most of the year and that has its source in the southern West Bank. The watercourse then runs through the Negev desert and Gaza before reaching the Mediterranean.

In Israel, the section which links up with Gaza is known as Nahal Besor.

"In Nahal Besor, there are no dams that can be opened or closed, meaning that there is nothing that can cause or prevent a flood," said Nehemia Shahaf, head of the Drainage and Rivers Authority in the Negev area.

"To my knowledge there is no dam on the Israeli side and terrain is not suited to the construction of a dam," she told AFP.

Trottier believes that due to the heavy rains, "the waters gathered naturally and it flooded."

She said there were "a lot of myths about the question of water in the Palestinian territories and Israel."

Israeli experts say that the volume of water which flooded the river last week was unusually large due to the heavy rainfall, with an estimated five million cubic metres passing through Nahal Besor. The last time it happened was in 2010.

"It was a lot for one storm," explained Boaz Kretschmer, head of strategy at Eshkol Regional Council, the local authority in an area of Israel flanking central and southern Gaza.

"We had 30-40mm of rain across the whole region, in the Negev, in Hebron, across the whole drainage basin and of course, the water ended up in Gaza."

What does exist here is a low stone structure, barely a metre high, next to a shallow concrete channel, which is sometimes referred to as a "diversion dam" -- whose purpose is to slow the flow of water so some of it can be diverted into a nearby reservoir for irrigation purposes, Kretschmer explained.

It has no gates, nor openings, and when the flood waters hit, they simply glide over it as if it did not exist.

"If it does anything, it actually reduces the quantity of water flowing towards Gaza, and not the opposite," Shahaf said.

"We don't try and stop the flow of water. That would be impossible -- it has incredible power," explained Kretschmer.

"There have been many dreams and plans in the past about how to stop the water because it comes in such a quantity that it could save the Negev. But all attempts to channel the floodwaters have failed. It's just not possible."

Experts believe that the flooding in the impoverished Gaza Strip, which is home to 1.8 million people and has been languishing under an Israel blockade since 2006, was likely exacerbated by chronic infrastructure problems and a flurry of illegal construction close to the riverbed.

But Munther Shoblak, a senior official in Gaza's water utility, said the Israelis "are not free from responsibility".

"They know people live on the other side of the border and they could have informed us that the water was coming.

"As usual, they didn't."

But he also acknowledged "some Palestinian responsibility" for the flooding.

"Wadi Gaza is liable to flood in an area which is about 70-100 metres wide but in some of these places, there has been illegal construction and cultivation, which has reduced this area to 15 or 20 metres," he told AFP.
I added a comment, which is not visible as of this writing:
Better late than never.

AFP might want to add that the Palestinian Authority, not only Hamas, also blamed Israel for the floods, even releasing a statement that they could not believe that the international community wasn't condemning Israel for opening the mythical dams.
(h/t Michaloush)


(h/t Rudi)

02/27 Links Pt1: Glick: In Israel’s hour of need; Iran's centrifuges: Enough for a bomb, not power

From Ian:

Caroline Glick: In Israel’s hour of need
It is hard to get your arms around the stubborn determination of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today. For most of the nine years he has served as Israel’s leader, first from 1996 to 1999 and now since 2009, Netanyahu shied away from confrontations or buckled under pressure. He signed deals with the Palestinians he knew the Palestinians would never uphold in the hopes of winning the support of hostile US administrations and a fair shake from the pathologically hateful Israeli media.
In recent years he released terrorist murderers from prison. He abrogated Jewish property rights in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. He agreed to support the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. He agreed to keep giving the Palestinians of Gaza free electricity while they waged war against Israel. He did all of these things in a bid to accommodate US President Barack Obama and win over the media, while keeping the leftist parties in his coalitions happy.
For his part, for the past six years Obama has undermined Israel’s national security. He has publicly humiliated Netanyahu repeatedly.
He has delegitimized Israel’s very existence, embracing the jihadist lie that Israel’s existence is the product of post-Holocaust European guilt rather than 4,000 years of Jewish history.
He and his representatives have given a backwind to the forces that seek to wage economic warfare against Israel, repeatedly indicating that the application of economic sanctions against Israel – illegal under the World Trade Organization treaties – are a natural response to Israel’s unwillingness to bow to every Palestinian demand. The same goes for the movement to deny the legitimacy of Israel’s very existence. Senior administration officials have threatened that Israel will become illegitimate if it refuses to surrender to Palestinian demands.
Last summer, Obama openly colluded with Hamas’s terrorist war against Israel. He tried to coerce Israel into accepting ceasefire terms that would have amounted to an unconditional surrender to Hamas’s demands for open borders and the free flow of funds to the terrorist group. He enacted a partial arms embargo on Israel in the midst of war. He cut off air traffic to Ben-Gurion International Airport under specious and grossly prejudicial terms in an open act of economic warfare against Israel.
Sarah Honig: Oh, to be Abdullah!
No sooner was caged Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kassasbeh burned to death publicly by IS, than Abdullah vowed retribution. Members of the US House Armed Services Committee attest that immediately upon having heard of his pilot’s horrific execution, Abdullah (then the Committee’s guest in Washington) quoted Clint Eastwood’s character Bill Munny in the 1992 movie Unforgiven:
“Any man I see out there, I’m gonna kill him. Any son of a bitch takes a shot at me, I’m not only going to kill him, I’m going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down.”
Imagine if Benjamin Netanyahu swaggered thus. Indignant condemnation of Bibi’s fascist pose would have dizzyingly whirled around the planet and picked up more vehemence with each furious rotation. But what’s unthinkable for some is only to be exhorted in others.
Abdullah avenged al-Kassasbeh by promptly hanging two convicted terrorists and the enlightened ones everywhere extolled his true grit and dogged determination. Liberal Israel doesn’t execute even the most heinous of terrorists but is mercilessly trashed by the same enlightened ones. Murderers like Marwan Barghouti, convicted by Israel’s super-liberal courts, are depicted as prisoners of conscience and Netanyahu is pressured excruciatingly to let more convicted murderers loose as “goodwill gestures” to terror masterminds.
Around the globe both the loony Left and the righteous Right cheered as Abdullah put on battle fatigues and grimaced grimly. He let the world know how utterly angry he was and the unanimously sympathetic international community was unanimously impressed.
The foreign media approvingly counted the number of sorties by Jordanian fighter-jets and praised the destruction they sowed – civilian collateral-damage notwithstanding.
Danny Ayalon: The Truth About the Balance of Power in the Middle East
Danny Ayalon, Founder of the "Truth About Israel", Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Israeli Ambassador to the United States explains the facts relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the tip of the iceberg in the greater scheme of the balance of power in the Middle East. The video explains the gap between Israel and the united Arab Muslim bloc, and highlights the disparity between the Muslim and Arab countries in the Middle East and Israel, expressed in size and population, as well as in military, political and economic strength.

PMW: All of Israel is "Palestine" according to Abbas' National Security Forces
Every city, town and place in Israel is "Palestine," according to the PA's National Security Forces' steady stream of photos from "Palestine" posted to its Facebook page.
Recent posts show places in Northern Israel as "Palestine": Atlit in the Haifa district, the Upper Galilee in general and the Montfort Castle in the Upper Galilee specifically, and Mount Gilboa in Beit She'an.
The cities Jaffa, Safed, Acre, Tiberias and Nazareth together with the Negev desert have all been recently presented as "Palestine" by the PA Security Forces, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.
Abbas' security forces also repeated the false claim that Tiberias (with a different photo) and Nazareth are in "Palestine":

Israel, Jordan sign "historic" water deal but Jordan remains silent

From i24news:

Israel and Jordan on Thursday signed a landmark agreement designed to provide the drought-plagued Jordanians with drinking water and to slow the decay of the Dead Sea.

Under the terms of the pact, a pipeline will be laid between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea and a desalination plant will be built in the Jordanian port town of Aqaba.

The agreement envisions the annual pumping of 200 million cubic meters of water from the Red Sea: 80 million will be desalinated at the Aqaba plant and Israel will get 30-50 million of that amount for use in its southern port town of Eilat and the Arava region – both desert areas with a chronic water shortage. The Jordanians will get 30 million cubes for their needs in the arid southern part of their country and an additional 50 million cubes of water for the central and northern parts of their country.

The landmark agreement was signed by Silvan Shalom, who holds the ministerial portfolios for energy and water, regional development and development of the Negev and Galilee, and Jordan's Water and Irrigation Minister Hazem Al Nasser in the presence of US envoys to the two countries.

"I'm standing here deeply moved, having put pen to paper in the signing of a historical agreement," Shalom said. "We are realizing the Zionist vision of Theodor Herzel who, as early as in the late 19th century, had predicted the need to revitalize the Dead Sea."

"This is the most important agreement since the peace treaty with Jordan," the official went on to declare. "It's the high point of a productive cooperation between Israel and Jordan that will help rehabilitate the Dead Sea and offer solutions to Jordan's water supply crisis."

According to the deal, a desalination plant will be built in Aqaba for desalinating water from the Red Sea and salty residues will be pumped into the Dead Sea, which is shrinking by one meter every year.
I did not see this mentioned in Jordanian media, although plenty of Arab media picked up the story.

Also, I couldn't find a single quote from the Jordanian representative at the signing.

But at the same time, in the Jordanian parliament, representatives threatened a vote of no confidence unless Jordan expelled the Istaeli ambassador. They also expressed opposition to the Israel/Jordan natural gas deal.

There are a lot of layers to Israel's relationship with the Arab world. Too bad that the media almost exclusively concentrates on the loudmouths.