zaterdag 25 augustus 2007

Al Aqsa Martelaren Brigade wil herbewapenen

Dit is slecht nieuws. De amnestie regeling met Israël was behoorlijk royaal, en de gezochte terroristen hoefden niet meer te doen dan hun wapens in te leveren en te beloven te stoppen met het beramen en plegen van aanslagen. De arrestatie van twee van hun leden lijkt dan ook een nauwelijks verhuld excuus te zijn om een regeling die het 'verzet' onwaardig is op te blazen, of om de regering Fayad onder druk te zetten om met meer over de brug te komen. 
Aanslagen werden geregeld opgeëist door zowel Al Aqsa Martelaren Brigade als Hamas als Islamitische Jihad, of twee van de drie, of nog een van de kleinere 'verzetsgroepen' erbij. Hun ideeën over vrede, een twee-statenoplossing en onderhandelen versus geweld, verschillen dan ook niet zo heel veel. Allen opereren zij als autonome groepen binnen een staat, die liever zelf de dienst uitmaken dan onder de Palestijnse Autoriteit te dienen, zeker als die het pad van de vrede en onderhandelingen wil bewandelen. Deze groepen zullen zich de mogelijkheid niet laten afnemen om ieder akkoord met Israël te torpederen .
Aksa Martyrs Brigades: Truce over

Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 21, 2007

Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, announced Tuesday it would no longer honor understandings reached with Israel, and called on its members to carry weapons to defend themselves against the IDF.

"We call on all our members who handed over their weapons to the Palestinian security forces to report to their commanders so that they can be issued new weapons," said a leaflet distributed in Ramallah.

The group said the decision was made after the IDF arrested two Fatah gunmen who had been given amnesty by Israel in line with understandings reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Israel agreed last month to stop pursuing some 270 Fatah fugitives on condition that they surrender their weapons and sign a pledge to refrain from terrorist activities.

Earlier this week, the PA said Israel had "pardoned" another 110 Fatah fugitives in the West Bank - a claim that Israel denied.
The latest leaflet is seen as a challenge to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's efforts to dismantle the Aksa Martyrs Brigades and other Fatah-linked armed groups in the West Bank.

According to the group, Israel on Monday night arrested Iyad Bisharat and Ahmed Abu Jalboush, two Fatah gunmen whose names had appeared on the first list of pardoned fugitives.

"We call on all our members to display caution and not to be deceived by the so-called amnesty from Israel," the leaflet read. "We will no longer honor the agreements that were reached with Israel over the issue of the wanted men. We won't hand over our guns. This is a lie designed to split the Palestinian resistance."

The group said it had previously warned against the "plot" aimed at confiscating the weapons of Aksa Martyrs Brigades members in the West Bank. "The Israeli enemy does not respect any commitments or agreements," it said.

The Fatah group also criticized PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad's government, holding it responsible for the arrest of its two men.

"Fayad must clarify his position vis-á-vis the arrest of our men, whose names had appeared on the list of wanted men who received amnesty," it said.

An Israeli official said in response that such a move by Fatah's military wing would only escalate violence.

"Israel expects the Palestinian Authority to take proper steps to root out terrorism against Israel, and to work with Israel to chart a more promising future for both sides," an official in the Prime Minister's Office said. "Incitement such as this only serves to ratchet up the situation, and would only harm the chances for progress between both peoples."

The IDF declined comment.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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vrijdag 24 augustus 2007

Fatah militant: training door VS was sleutel voor succes Tweede Intifada

Vanwege de trainingen die men van de VS had gekregen was de Tweede Intifada zo succesvol, aldus een militant van de Al Aqsa Martelaren Brigades, die zelf bij verschillende aanslagen betrokken was. Vreemd is niet alleen dat hij dit zo openlijk toegeeft, maar ook dat er geen beetje spijt doorklinkt in de ontboezemingen. Het lijkt eerder dat hij er trots op is.
Vreemd is bovendien dat hij dit doet op het moment dat een nieuw trainingsprogramma voor later dit jaar wordt aangekondigd. Dit alles werpt in ieder geval een heel ander licht op de vaak gehoorde beschuldiging aan Israëls adres dat het de gematigde Palestijnse Autoriteit zo hard trof tijdens de Tweede Intifada, en deze daarom niet harder tegen het terrorisme kon optreden.

Fatah Militant: U.S. Training Was Key to Intifada's Success
BY AARON KLEIN - Special to the Sun
August 21, 2007

RAMALLAH -- American-run programs that train Fatah militias were instrumental in the "success" of the Palestinian intifada that began in 2000, a senior Fatah militant told The New York Sun.

"I do not think that the operations of the Palestinian resistance would have been so successful and would have killed more than one thousand Israelis since 2000 and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without these [American] trainings," a senior officer of President Abbas's Force 17 Presidential Guard unit, Abu Yousuf, said.

America has longstanding training programs at a base in the West Bank city of Jericho for members of Force 17, which serves as de facto police units in the West Bank, and for another major Fatah security force, the Preventative Security Services.

This weekend diplomatic security officials announced that the State Department will begin training Force 17 again this year in an effort to bolster Mr. Abbas against Hamas, which took over the Gaza Strip in June when the terror group easily defeated American-backed Fatah forces in the territory.

Under an agreement signed this month by Secretary of State Rice and Palestinian Arab Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Force 17 officers are slated to take course work and conduct VIP protection exercises under the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

The new training program aims to help the Palestinian Authority "deliver security for the Palestinian people and fight terrorism, build confidence between the parties, and ultimately help to meet the security needs of Palestinians and Israelis alike," a State Department press release said.

The training program, which includes courses in the use of weapons, paid with $86.5 million in funding granted to the Palestinian Authority by Congress in April.

Many members of Force 17 and the Preventative Security Services also openly serve in Fatah's declared "military wing," Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which took credit along with the Islamic Jihad terror group for every suicide bombing in Israel between 2005 and 2006. The Brigades is responsible for more terrorism from the West Bank than any other Palestinian Arab organization.

Abu Yousuf, the Force 17 officer, received American training in Jericho in 1999 as a member of the Preventative Security Services. He is a chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Ramallah, where he is accused of participating in anti-Israel terrorism, including recent shootings, attacks against Israeli forces operating in the city, and a shooting attack in northern Samaria in December 2000 that killed the leader of the ultranationalist Kahane Chai organization, Benyamin Kahane.

After the Kahane murder, Mr. Yousuf was extended refuge by Yasser Arafat to live in the late Palestine Liberation Organization leader's Ramallah compound, widely known as the Muqata. Mr. Yousuf still lives in the compound.

Prime Minister Olmert last month granted Mr. Yousuf amnesty along with 178 other Brigades leaders reportedly in a gesture to Mr. Abbas.

Speaking during an interview for the upcoming book "Schmoozing with Terrorists," Mr. Yousuf said his American trainings were instrumental in attacks on Israelis. "All the methods and techniques that we studied in these trainings, we applied them against the Israelis," he said.

"We sniped at Israeli settlers and soldiers. We broke into settlements and Israeli army bases and posts. We collected information on the movements of soldiers and settlers. We collected information about the best timing to infiltrate our bombers inside Israel. We used weapons and we produced explosives, and of course the trainings we received from the Americans and the Europeans were a great help to the resistance."

Mr. Yousuf said the training included both intelligence and military tactics.

"In the intelligence part, we learned collection of information regarding suspected persons, how to follow suspected guys, how to infiltrate organizations and penetrate cells of groups that we were working on and how to prevent attacks and to steal in places," he said.

"On the military level, we received trainings on the use of weapons, all kind of weapons and explosives. We received sniping trainings, work of special units especially as part as what they call the fight against terror. We learned how to put siege, how to break into places where our enemies closed themselves in, how to oppress protest movements, demonstrations, and other activities of opposition."

Mr. Yousuf seemed to anticipate criticism for speaking publicly about the training. He's not "talking about U.S. training in order to irritate the Americans or the Israelis and not in order to create provocations," he said. "I'm just telling you the truth."

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Israël stelt landruil voor ten behoeve van verbinding tussen Westoever en Gazastrook

Onderstaande voorstellen klinken veelbelovend, en het klinkt haast alsof een doorbraak mogelijk is op de top komend najaar. De Jerusalem Post is echter een stuk voorzichtiger:
Olmert has said that in his recent meetings with Abbas there was a discussion about "fundamental principles," with widespread speculation - not confirmed by the Prime Minister's Office - that the goal was to come up with an agreement of principles for the establishment of a Palestinian state on some 90 percent of the West Bank and Gaza.
Western diplomatic officials, however, have in recent days lowered expectations regarding the conference, which US President George W. Bush declared would take place some time in the autumn, and be chaired by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Zou Aktiva Eldar - zelf een voorstander van vergaande Israëlische concessies - zich aan speculaties en dagdromerij hebben overgegeven? Of schetst de Jerusalem Post - waarin veelal scepsis wordt geuit over vergaande Israëlische concessies - een te negatief beeld van de situatie?
De Jerusalem Post meldt ook Abbas' verbolgen reactie op de recente operaties tegen Hamas en Islamitische Jihad van Israël in de Gazastrook. 
In a statement released by Abbas's office, the chairman asserted that Israel's continued policy would ensure that the negotiations and the peace process bear no fruit.
Dat is erg sterkt uitgedrukt, zeker als je bedenkt dat het leden van Hamas en Islamitische Jihad betreft, die Abbas' Fatah met veel geweld de Gazastrook uit hebben gegooid. Gelooft hij dat vrede mogelijk is zonder dat deze groeperingen worden bestreden? Waarom veroordeelt hij het afvuren van qassam raketten niet eveneens? Of is dit voor interne consumptie?

Last update - 07:40 23/08/2007

Israel proposes W. Bank-Gaza route in land swap

By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent

Israel has proposed that safe passage for the Palestinians from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip be included in an exchange of territory with the Palestinians in the framework of the agreement of principles now being formulated ahead of the upcoming regional summit.

The Palestinians will receive control of the route, but Israel will maintain sovereignty and it will only begin to operate after the Palestinian Authority, under its present leadership, reasserts control over the Gaza Strip.

Jerusalem believes that the move will help PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayad garner public support in Gaza, which will see the Hamas government as an obstacle in renewing communication with the West Bank.

A senior official involved in talks with the Palestinians said that the agreement of principles will not set out the details of the land to be transfered to the Palestinians in exchange for Israel's settlement blocs, but will reflect as wide as possible a consensus on the core issues with some ambiguity. The details will be hammered out in negotiations after the summit.

It is believed that for the Palestinians, safe passage is worth more than its nominal territory, and therefore this will be a central component in a territorial package.

Sources close to Abbas say the PA chairman has removed his objection to the establishment of a state with temporary borders following the signing of the agreement of principles, but has conditioned his agreement on international assurances of a timetable for the end of negotiations on permanent borders.

Internal discussions in Israel along with talks with the Palestinians are formulating the following positions:

Borders -- The starting point is the separation fence, without additional areas slated for the expansion of settlements. This leaves 92 percent of the area of the West Bank in Palestinian hands. The final area of the new state will be larger than the area east of the fence, but smaller than the area proposed in the Geneva Accord.

Among themselves, Israeli officials talk about the need to begin applying the principles of the Evacuation-Compensation Law on West Bank settlers. Two bills have recently been proposed on this issue, one by Colette Avital (Labor) and Avshalom Vilan (Meretz), and the other by Amir Peretz and Yuli Tamir (Labor).

Jerusalem -- According to a government official, Israel would be willing to transfer to the Palestinians at an early stage a number of neighborhoods and refugee camps outside the fence and in the area of the Seam Line. At a later stage, it would transfer more or most of the Arab neighborhoods.

The guiding principle is similar to that of the Clinton Plan: Jewish areas for Jews and Arab areas for Arabs. The "basin" of sacred sites in the Old City would be administered jointly by representatives of the three religions, each responsible for its own sites.

Refugees -- Israel would recognize Palestinian refugee suffering and accept indirectly some responsibility for the refugees from the 1948 war. Israel would also take part in an international project to rehabilitate refugees in Palestine, in areas Israel would transfer to the Palestinians and in the countries where they are now living.

Israel is basing itself on the clause in the Arab peace plan noting that a solution to the refugee problem is predicated on Israel's consent.

While the U.S. did not plan the agenda of the summit ahead of time, it sees the agreement of principles as key to the summit's success and is encouraging the parties to move ahead on it before the summit. The Americans believe the agreement greatly improves the chances that Saudi Arabia will take part in the summit, and will back Abbas and Fayad politically and economically. To connect the regional summit to the Saudi and Arab initiatives, the Saudis and the Palestinians want the summit to relate to the Israel-Syrian issue as well.

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donderdag 23 augustus 2007

Iran censureert Nasrallah om Libanese gevoeligheden

Terwijl Hezbollah leider Nasrallah in Libanon en voor de buitenwereld het beeld wil ophouden van de oorlog vorig jaar als een strijd voor Libanon en Libanese rechten en onafhankelijkheid, vertelt hij in een interview voor de Iraanse televisie een ander verhaal. Een verhaal waar men niet zo blij mee was, omdat het de woede van de Libanezen zou kunnen opwekken.    

"We are ready to be torn apart, spliced into tiny pieces, so that Iran will remain exalted. For if Iran remains exalted, we too shall be exalted. I am a lowly soldier of the Imam Khamenei. Hizbullah youths acted on behalf of the Imam Khomeini, with the aid of Imam Hussein, and sent their blessings to the Iranian people,"

Niet iedereen in Libanon zal bereid zijn leven te geven ter meerdere eer en glorie van Khomeini of Khamenei of Ahmadinejad, en dat snappen ze in Iran ook wel, vandaar dat deze passage werd gecensureerd.

Iran censors Nasrallah to protect Lebanese sensibilities,7340,L-3439057,00.html
Parts of interview given by Hizbullah secretary-general marking end of Second Lebanon War censored by Iranian television after he makes controversial statements asserting Hizbullah fought war for Iran
Roee Nahmias Published: 08.18.07, 19:56 / Israel News

Parts of an interview given by Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah to Iranian national television were censored by Iran's censors to avoid raising ire in Lebanon.
"We are ready to be torn apart, spliced into tiny pieces, so that Iran will remain exalted. For if Iran remains exalted, we too shall be exalted. I am a lowly soldier of the Imam Khamenei. Hizbullah youths acted on behalf of the Imam Khomeini, with the aid of Imam Hussein, and sent their blessings to the Iranian people," said Nasrallah in an interview with reporter Bijan Nobaveh on the day marking the start of the Second Lebanon War according to the Persian calendar.
Nasrallah also thanked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and all the "brothers and sisters" in Iran.

From an internal Lebanese perspective, Nasrallah's words, which carry much weight, are tantamount to dissent. Nasrallah confirms that he serves supreme leader of Iran (Khamenei) and that his men fought for Iran last summer.

Nasrallah's opponents within Lebanon have long asserted that Nasrallah's loyalties lie with Teheran and that Lebanon is not first on his list of priorities.
  Nasrallah himself since the beginning of the war declared himself a proud Lebanese patriot who's first and foremost priority was Lebanon. "Show me one incident in which I did something for another and against Lebanon," he reiterated constantly.

Meanwhile Nasrallah continued to celebrate Hizbullah's "divine victory" last summer. In a speech before thousands in Beirut he warned Israel: "If you are thinking of going to war with Lebanon - I promise you a big surprise that will change the fate of the war and the region," he warned Israel and the US.

Terroristen en kinderen gedood in Gazastrook...

Wat is meer waard: een kind of een mobiel lanceerplatform voor een kassam raket?
Nadat leden van de Islamitische Jihad raketten op Israël hadden afgevuurd vanuit de Gazastrook, sloegen ze onmiddelijk op de vlucht voor het Israëlische leger. Wel zonde van de lanceerplatforms. De I.J. groeit het geld immers ook niet op de rug. Maar daar heeft men wat op gevonden:
The attack took place hours after troops killed a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old as they tried to collect Qassam rocket launchers. The children were killed on Tuesday the afternoon by an IDF tank in the northern Gaza Strip. The two were seen moving in a field near Beit Hanun toward rocket launchers immediately after Qassam rockets had been fired on towns in Israel.
They said it is possible that Islamic Jihad had hired the children to collect the launchers after the launch. This phenomenon had already been observed in other instances, the IDF officers said.
The only reason anyone approaches the launchers after rockets are fired is to collect them or reload them, the sources said, so there was no way to avoid shooting at the people near the launchers.

Maar niet getreurd: de kinderen deden het wellicht met volle overtuiging, nadat ze op TV van Nahoul de Bij te horen hadden gekregen dat sterven voor het vaderland het grootste goed is en ze door Allah rijkelijk beloond zullen worden.  
Ratna, met excuses voor het cynisme...

IAF strike kills top Hamas commander in Gaza City
Haaretz Last update - 07:45 22/08/2007

Israeli forces combating Palestinian gunmen in Gaza killed a Hamas militant in an airstrike early Wednesday, after killing two children and three militants a day earlier.

Hamas identified the militant killed Wednesday as Yehia Habib, a senior field commander in Gaza City. Three other militants were wounded.

Israel said it struck a group of armed men who had approached the border fence with Israel.

The attack took place hours after troops killed a 9-year-old and a 12-year-old as they tried to collect Qassam rocket launchers. The children were killed on Tuesday the afternoon by an IDF tank in the northern Gaza Strip. The two were seen moving in a field near Beit Hanun toward rocket launchers immediately after Qassam rockets had been fired on towns in Israel.

The rockets struck the area near Kibbutz Zikim, south of Ashkelon. There were no injuries or damage.

Soon after the launch, an IDF force identified the source of the rocket fire, surveyed the area, and identified a number of suspicious figures near the launchers. A tank in the area fired a round, which killed the two children. Another child was seriously injured in the incident.

"Children have no business being near Qassam rocket launchers," IDF officers said in a statement last night.

They said it is possible that Islamic Jihad had hired the children to collect the launchers after the launch. This phenomenon had already been observed in other instances, the IDF officers said.

The tank fired at the figures only after they were seen close to the launchers, IDF sources said.

The only reason anyone approaches the launchers after rockets are fired is to collect them or reload them, the sources said, so there was no way to avoid shooting at the people near the launchers.

"If these were children or youths, we regret the use that the terrorist groups are making of them," a statement from the IDF spokesman read Tuesday.

An IDF source said that troops that had carried out the operation identified the figures next to the launchers as militants. "They were handling the launchers and they obviously hadn't come to slide on them," he said. "Every Palestinian, including the militants, knows that anyone who hangs around these launchers is endangering themselves."

According to IDF analysts, Tuesday's rocket attack against Israel was carried out by the Jerusalem Battalions of the Islamic Jihad.

They said that the militants fled as soon as the rockets were launched.

"This is a cynical use of children but we are no longer surprised by anything we see. A 14-year-old child has already fired an RPG rocket against an IDF force, a grandmother aged close to 70 fired a light weapon against a Givati [Brigade] force recently in the Strip. What were these children doing there anyway? The militants fled immediately after the launch and then sent the children to collect the launchers," one of the sources added.

In another Qassam rocket attack, against the western Negev, one rocket hit a kindergarten in Sderot, causing damage. No injuries were reported because the children are still on summer vacation and the kindergarten was empty. The second Qassam landed in fields.

Palestinian militants have also fired several mortar shells at the western Negev, causing no injuries or damage.

Earlier Tuesday, IDF troops killed three Palestinian militants near the security fence in the southern Gaza Strip, near Khan Yunis.

According to the IDF, the militants were members of Islamic Jihad and were trying to carry out a shooting attack against Israeli targets near the fence. The army said the militants belong to a cell that had carried out such attacks in the past.

The incident began when the vehicle the three were in was spotted and attacked from the air. The three managed to flee, but they were intercepted by an IDF force in the fields.

A fourth militant was injured in the incident.

A spokesman for Islamic Jihad said that the four were on a "jihad-related" activity.

"The blood of our martyrs will be avenged," a statement read.

IDF troops found three sniper rifles in searches of the area following the incident, the army said.

On Monday night, Israel's Channel 2 television reported that six Hamas men killed in an Israeli attack earlier in the day were members of a sniper unit.

The six militants were killed and another was wounded in an IDF rocket strike on a car traveling in the central Gaza Strip.

In an incident in the West Bank city of Nablus early Tuesday, IDF troops shot and killed a Palestinian gunman.

The soldiers operating in the Al-Ein refugee camp saw a Palestinian gunman who fired at them before they returned fire and hit him, the army said.

The militant was identified as 38-year-old Nasser Mabrouk, a member of an offshoot of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

De moraal van de Talmoed en de Joden als volk van God

Ik heb altijd gedacht, dat als God bestaat en echt rechtvaardig is, hij mensen na hun dood niet zal beoordelen op het feit of ze wel in hem geloofden en de Bijbel als zijn woord beschouwden, maar op hoe ze leefden. Men kan immers als sterveling niet weten welke religie en welk boek de enig ware is, en een onsterfelijk wezen überhaupt niet bevatten, maar iedereen kan weten dat anderen pijn doen, anderen vermoorden, kwaadspreken over anderen enz. slechte daden zijn behalve wanneer zij uit absoluut noodweer worden gepleegd, en iedereen weet dat we hulpbehoevenden niet in de kou moeten laten staan. 
Hoewel over de Joden dikwijls wordt gezegd dat zij zich superieur zouden voelen ten opzichte van anderen omdat zij zich als Gods uitverkoren volk beschouwen, zie ik bovenstaande uitgerekend in de Talmoed bevestigd:
"The righteous of all nations have a share in the world to come" (Tosefta Sanhedrin 13).

THE SAME thing applied to the question of proximity with God. It was righteousness, rather than Jewishness, that granted us a relationship with the creator: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses: Any individual, whether gentile of Jew, man or woman, servant or maid, can bring the Divine Presence upon himself in accordance with his deeds" (Tanna Devei Eliahu Rabba 9).

Witness the fact that Judaism is the only religion that does not actively proselytize people outside the faith, because we do not believe that a non-Jew upgrades his existence by becoming a Jew.
Joden zijn er niet op uit om anderen te bekeren. Als je interesse toont om Joods te worden (een langdurige en zware procedure heb ik begrepen) is de eerste reactie waarschijnlijk: "ben je mesjogge?". Voor zover men zichzelf als speciaal en uniek beschouwt is dit veeleer door de geschiedenis en gemeenschappelijke culturele en religieuze tradities, en de verbondenheid die een geschiedenis zo vol ellende tot gevolg heeft. 

Can a Jew rescue a non-Jew on Shabbat?
Shmuley Boteach,

My friend Noah Feldman, in his much-discussed article in The New York Times, quoted the talmudic debate on whether a Jew is allowed to desecrate Shabbat to save a non-Jewish life, with the Talmud concluding that yes, one is allowed to do so for the sake of peaceful relations with non-Jewish neighbors. This, of course, gave the impression that Judaism does not value non-Jewish life for its own sake.

In his response to Prof. Feldman, Yeshiva University chancellor Norman Lamm wrote, "Surely you, as a distinguished academic lawyer, must have come across instances in which a precedent that was once valid has, in the course of time, proved morally objectionable, as a result of which it was amended, so that the law remains on the books as a juridical foundation, while it becomes effectively inoperative through legal analysis and moral argument."

This highly learned response is characteristic of Rabbi Lamm, whose brilliant writings I have enjoyed since my youth. But its obtuseness escapes simple laymen like me.

A proper understanding of this famous talmudic pronouncement is essential, especially to those of us who believe in the universality of Judaism and the moral excellence of its teachings. The light of Judaism is meant to illuminate the earth and it cannot do so if it teaches reprehensible racism, something which is and should forever be an abomination to our faith.

IS THE JEWISH religion really so heartless as to give a Jew pause before rescuing a non-Jewish life on the Sabbath? Could it be possible that a religion that so courageously declares, at the very beginning of its Bible, that all humans are equally created in the image of God suddenly reverses itself and declares a non-Jewish life to be not only inferior to that of a Jew, but scarcely worth saving? Of course not.

The Talmud was written at the time of the vicious Roman occupation of the Holy Land. The unbearable cruelty of the Romans led to two Jewish rebellions that were quashed so mercilessly by Rome's mighty legions that millions of Jews were slaughtered in cold blood. Indeed, the utter ruthlessness of the Romans is something clearly evident to any non-Jew through the horrible and gruesome death by crucifixion they inflicted upon an innocent Jesus and approximately 250,000 other Jews.

The Talmud's discussion, therefore, centered on whether brutal, gentile oppressors like Roman centurions, who were the principal non-Jews with whom the Jews had contact at the time, ought to be saved on the Sabbath. It is in the context of the fate of deadly, sworn enemies of the Jewish people that the Talmud's debate must be considered.

If the rabbis alive at the time of the Holocaust had debated whether Germans - who democratically elected Hitler into power and then remained silent while he exterminated millions of innocent people - ought to have the Sabbath violated for their physical salvation, we would perhaps be forgiving of their slight feelings of contempt for their German neighbors.

While this has always been my understanding of this talmudic pronouncement, it was Rabbi Menahem Genack, one of American Orthodoxy's leading lights, who recently shared with me something very similar said by the great talmudic exegete Rabbi Menahem Meiri (1249-1310): that the Talmud's reference is to a pagan defiler of the faith.

DURING WORLD War II, great and moral men like Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, who saved the world from Nazi tyranny, decided that it was moral to bomb German cities, especially Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden, in raids that killed hundreds of thousands of civilian non-combatants. Harry Truman then authorized the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, thereby killing hundreds of thousands more.

Now, few would construe these actions as proof that these great Western leaders believed that a German or a Japanese life was inferior to an American or British life. Rather, these decisions were made in the context of Germany and Japan being the sworn enemies of the West, who were dedicated to democracy's destruction. The same is true of why the Talmud questioned whether the Romans, who were similarly committed to the enslavement of the earth, were worth saving.

But when it came to everyday non-Jews, the Talmud was emphatic about their equal place before God and the equality and sanctity of every human life. Indeed, talmudic pronouncements on non-Jewish life are a model of universalism and egalitarian thinking that preceded Western ideas of equality of all races by nearly two millennia.

The sages of the Talmud declared in their most important ethical tract, Ethics of the Fathers, "Do not despise any man" (4:3). They went further. In a pronouncement that is as astonishing as it is inspiring, they declared, "Even a gentile who studies God's law is equal to a high priest." Incredible.

At a time when ecumenical thinking was absolutely unheard of and nearly every religion declared that only members of its own faith would go to heaven, the greatest rabbis were declaring that a righteous non-Jew is as holy as the Jewish high priest. The rabbis of the Talmud further declared that any righteous individual - Jew or gentile - is guaranteed a place in eternity just so long as he has led an ethical life: "The righteous of all nations have a share in the world to come" (Tosefta Sanhedrin 13).

THE SAME thing applied to the question of proximity with God. It was righteousness, rather than Jewishness, that granted us a relationship with the creator: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses: Any individual, whether gentile of Jew, man or woman, servant or maid, can bring the Divine Presence upon himself in accordance with his deeds" (Tanna Devei Eliahu Rabba 9).

Witness the fact that Judaism is the only religion that does not actively proselytize people outside the faith, because we do not believe that a non-Jew upgrades his existence by becoming a Jew.

That this attitude is true not only in a legal sense but a practical one is demonstrated in how the tiny State of Israel, with its extremely limited resources, is always at the forefront of sending doctors and medical personnel to regions hit by natural disasters, most notably the December 2004 tsunami. This commitment to the welfare of non-Jews is the direct result of Judaism's advocacy of the equal sanctity of every human life, notwithstanding race, color or creed.


The writer's upcoming book is The Broken American Male, to be published shortly by St. Martin's Press.

This article can also be read at

woensdag 22 augustus 2007

Iran deporteert ruim 1 miljoen Arabieren

Waarom heb ik hier nog nooit over gelezen in de krant? Geen reportages over gezien? Geen ooggetuigen gehoord, uitgenodigd op een bijeenkomst van de GroenLinks Midden-Oosten werkgroep of het Nederlands Sociaal Forum? Blijkbaar kunnen sommige landen zich van alles permitteren en de mensenrechten aan hun laars lappen.....





Transfer and resettlement – Tehran Style

Iran finds original solution to 'demographic problems' as ayatollahs' regime oppresses Arab residents of Al-Ahawaz near Iraq. Some 1.2m Arabs have been deported, replaced by 1.5m Persians

Roee Nahmias

Published:  08.01.07, 16:12 / Israel News

Iranian-made settlements: There is a non-Arab country in the Middle East which, at least according to western and Arabic media, has been deporting tens of thousands of Arabs from their homes, building settlements and filling them with non-Arabs, in an attempt to change the demographic composition of their region.


That country has been oppressing Arabs, violating their basic human rights, detaining thousands, including women and children and expropriating their farmlands for the settlements it constructs.


All of that is done under the framework of an organized government plan. Guess which country that is? It is none other than the Islamic Republic of Iran.


On the same week that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Damascus – where he issued belligerent statements against Israel and signed pacts with his Syrian counterpart – disconcerting reports were received in the West about developments inside Iran.


The reports particularly addressed the way the ayatollahs' regime treats the district of Al-Ahawaz in southeastern Iran, near the Iraqi border, which is mostly inhabited by Arabs (we should remember that the Iranians, i.e. the Persians, are Muslims, but not Arabs).


Recently, Karim Bani Sa'id Abadiyan, chairman of a human rights organization from Al-Ahawaz district, offered a rare view of this region, which the Iranian regime is making a huge effort to conceal from the media.


Relocation, courtesy of the regime

According to Abadiyan, over the past eight years, the Iranian government has deported some 1.2 million Arab residents, replacing them with 1.5 million non-Arabs.


The newcomers, mostly Persian Iranians, moved into new settlements that the Iranian government had built in the region. At the same time, the ayatollahs' regime governs the region with an iron fist, conducting mass arrests, executing dozens of local activists, seizing lands, and even banning the teaching of Arabic.

Residents of oil-rich region find it hard to make a living (from arabistan)


Speaking to Elaph, a liberal internet site operating out of London, Abadiyan revealed some of the developments in the Al-Ahawaz district, which received media attention despite Iranian efforts to keep it all under wraps.


According to Abadiyan, the first stage of Iran's "ethnic cleansing" campaign (which, he claimed, has been officially named "Land - for Trial") started in 1999 and so far, some 1.2 million Arabs have been deported to other Iranian regions.


In their place, the Iranian authorities imported 1.5 million non-Arabs, mostly Persians, who were settled in newly built locations, such as the town of Shirin Shahr that was built for this very purpose, while others were sent to Arab towns in Al-Ahawaz district.


The human rights activist claimed that these moves were meant to deprive the Arabs of Iran of their national identity and culture, and to eliminate their language and heritage.


"The Arabs who live in Al-Ahawaz are at the lowest of the low (in Iran)," said Abadiyan. "Last year, their human rights were extensively violated as 131 activists were executed and thousands were arrested in large and undiscriminating detention campaigns.


"Among others, the authorities detained whole families, including two to four-years old children and pregnant women. There were also mass deportations."


Abadiyan also said that the teaching of Arabic has been banned and that studying Farsi is now compulsory in every school. "As part of the Iranization policy, the Arab residents are forced to study Farsi and are not allowed to learn Arabic. This is making students drop out of schools - and I am citing official government statements: Some 30% drop out from grammar schools, 50% drop out of high schools, and 70% drop out of colleges."


'The shahids of the anti-Iranian intifada'

The Al-Ahawaz district lies on the shores of the Persian Gulf, bordering on southern Iraq, and houses some eight million Arab residents.


'I'm an Arab from the northern Persian Gulf, where is my name written?' Al-Ahawaz resident asks the Arab nations that formed a parliament without him (from arabistan)


Though the environment is rather harsh, the residents of Al-Ahawaz live in one of the world's wealthiest regions, rich with natural gas and oil wells, which is probably why the Iranians insist on ruling it.


Local residents operate internet sites in which they use very rough terms to describe the Iranians, terms that may sound familiar to Israeli ears. "Calling on the defenders of Iran: Know that it is an imperialist country, just like the United States and Israel," an editorial claimed. Pictures and caricatures compare Ahmadinejad with Americans, Israelis, and the Nazis.


Similar remarks were heard in demonstrates staged in the region. Internet sites even carry pictures of "the shahids (martyrs) of the intifada (popular uprising) against Iran," which is how they call their revolt.


The sites carry relevant anti-Iranian video clips. The Arab residents of Al-Ahawaz even criticize Arab countries for doing nothing against Iran.



Undernourished, without water of electricity

The Iranian regime is using various methods to make the life in Al-Ahawaz disrict very difficult for its Arab residents.


According to Abadiyan, some 80% of the Arab children there are undernourished. He further claimed that the government seized some 1.25 million acres of Arab farmland and gave it to the new settlers that it had brought there.

Arab finjan in prison (from arabistan)


These steps are aimed at changing the demographic composition of this district and, Abadiyan claimed, wiping out its Arab identity.


This is not the only testimony concerning the situation in that region. Special UN envoy Miloon Kothari, who visited there in July 2005, later reported: "When I visited the capital of the district bordering on Iraq, I witnessed harsh living conditions in residential neighborhoods.


"Thousands live right next to open sewage, lacking normal livelihood, and some live without drinking water, cooking gas, or electricity."


This is not the first time that reports have addressed the Iranian plan for demographic alternation and resettling of that district.


The situation there resulted in a real crisis between Iran and the Qatari news network of Al-Jazeera, after the Iranians were very displeased with the media coverage of clashes between Persians and Arabs there two years ago. As a result, Iran suspended the network's activity in the country (which has been resumed in the meantime, after the relations thawed).


At that time, Mahmad Huseyn Khosukat, the official in charge of foreign media in the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, declared, "the Al-Jazeera activity is suspended until further notice, due to the recent riots in the district of Al-Ahawaz."


According to Khosukat, he had expected Al-Jazeera to "respect Iran's national unity and security."


Is this the end of the story? Viewed against the war that has been breaking neighboring Iraq into pieces, it is hard to tell.


Benjamin Pogrund en Bassem Eid over Israel en een één-staten oplossing

Van de Zuidafrikaanse pro-Israël web log "It's almost Supernatural", hier een verslag van een recente discussie tussen voormalig anti-Apartheid activist Benjamin Pogrund en Palestijns mensenrechtenactivist Bassem Eid.


August 20, 2007

The Bosses of the Solution

I've just got back from a week in Israel and have lots to report on, but before I get to that here's my feedback from the Benjamin Pogrund/Bassem Eid talk at Limmud in Johannesburg 2 weeks ago.

It's not everyday you get to hear a real Palestinian and a South African-Israeli former anti-apartheid activist sharing the stage, discussing the fool's paradise that is the single state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Their co-existence style tour is the type of engagement sorely absent in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which can potentially lead to increased trust and confidence building amongst Jews and Muslims.

Benjamin Pogrund has strong anti-apartheid activist credentials (he was put on trial, arrested, had his passport revoked and investigated as a 'threat to the state' by security police) and is the former deputy editor of the now defunct Rand Daily Mail. Bassem Eid is a Palestinian human rights activist who has lived in refugee camps for over 33 years. He has exposed both Israeli and Palestinian human rights violations for over a decade. He is the Executive Director of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group. The Palestinian lobby led by the Freedom of Expression Institute has caricatured Eid as "pro-Israeli". Read his profile at this page and decide for yourself if it's a fair abstraction.

The topic of their dialogue was "Is South Africa's unitary solution a model for Israel?"

Benjamin Pogrund explained that it has today become fashionable to offer the South African miracle as an exemplar for Israel. The thinking is simple – blacks were oppressed, Palestinians are oppressed and therefore we should use the same solution.

In South Africa, Pogrund said, there is amongst the ruling ANC class an uncritical support for the Palestinians and an unbridled hostility towards Israel. However, despite this vehemence, there are never calls from the ANC for a single state solution – and this is telling. Even the arch nemesis of Israel in South Africa, Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, publicly reminds us that the ANC fully supports a two state settlement.

Various groups (and many journalists) however, continue to call for a single state solution. The option is at the very least superficially attractive and easy – it fulfils the ideal of a united world living in amenity and peace. But the real world isn't a one-size-fits-all stylish piece of head-ware - we just need to look at the examples of India-Pakistan-Bangladesh, the states of the former Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavia, Sudan, Ethiopia and plenty more.

Pogrund believes that the single state solution is not possible - the mistrust and rejection amongst Palestinians and Israelis is far greater than what we had here in South Africa. Pogrund used arguments from Adams and Moodley's "Seeking Mandela" to justify his position. Read our review of this book here.

Bassem Eid was up next and it was an absolute pleasure to hear him. I had previously heard him on the Doha debates where he argued that Palestinians suffering in the refugee camps are being abused by wealthy Muslims in the Diaspora who make tough demands yet do not pay the price of these demands.

Eid thinks that South Africa should use their influence over the Palestinians to promote a kind of reconciliation between the people. Trust and confidence needs to be built before we can talk about a state. Eid says that South Africa may be a wonderful and beautiful country but it is unfortunately not a model for the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Eid makes no bones about his disdain for Hamas – "they are people born to die, not to survive." He says that we should allow Hamas to speak for themselves and turned our attention towards a Hamas Sheik who recently threatened the Christians of Gaza that they will be considered enemies if they refuse to abide by the principles of Sharia.

His disdain for radical and religious Diaspora Muslim communities is equally strident. Many are trying to define a solution and impose it on the Palestinians. It's a "religious dictatorship" he quips. As if speaking directly to these radical communities Eid declares "Israelis and Palestinians are the owners of the conflict and they must remain the bosses of the solution."

It's an interesting notion and one I debated with many Israelis last week from the perspective of Diaspora Jewry's influence on the conflict. But more on this later.

Speaking of the internal Palestinian conflict Eid reminded us that we are today closer to a 3 state solution than to a 2 state solution. Zionists are often (sometimes correctly) accused of celebrating the disunity of the Palestinians. These views are short sighted. We need a united Palestinian leadership with which we can negotiate. Their division is our tragedy.

Eid spoke at length about the tragedy of the occupation. His opinion is significant because he apportions blame to both the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Israelis are at fault as occupiers. The Palestinians are at fault for failing to grab the opportunities that have presented themselves, most recently with the disengagement from Gaza. Instead of starting to build, Hamas (and he makes it clear that he blames Hamas) has instead fired rockets and destroyed. Eid wants the Palestinians to learn to accept opportunities.

Of course I did not agree with everything the speakers said (Eid thought that Arafat had the courage to take difficult decisions) but that's not important. The point is that we had a Palestinian and a Jew speaking side-by-side in favour of the only solution that can save both Israelis and Palestinians.

Wondering through the streets of Jerusalem last week I noticed how the majority of Israelis don't seem to even contemplate the possibility of a single state solution. The Jews will never relinquish what they have accomplished in Israel. They…we… are going nowhere. "Ain lanu Eretz Acheret" or "We have no other land" read the dashboard sticker of one of my taxi drivers whose parents and siblings had perished in the Holocaust.

Israel is a Jewish state. Its economy and institutions are totally dominated by Jews. Should the Palestinians relinquish their aspirations of nationhood to live in a state completely controlled by the people they have come to see as their enemy?

It simply can't happen. At least, that is what the majority of Israelis think.

Toename in aantal infiltrations vanuit Gazastrook in Israël

Ondanks het veiligheidshek om de Gazastrook en strenge bewaking, lukt het Palestijnen geregeld om illegaal Israël binnen te komen. Soms betreft het burgers die in Israël willen werken, soms terroristen die een aanslag willen plegen. Niet alle plannen om de grens hermetisch te kunnen afsluiten na de Israëlische terugtrekking, zijn uitgevoerd.

Some of the technological innovations haven't been authorized due to concerns that civilians unaffiliated with terror may be hurt. Other ideas have yet to receive the necessary budgeting.

The army says the desire to avoid civilian casualties often leads to successful infiltrations. 
Israël moet continu de veiligheid van haar eigen burgers afwegen tegen het voorkomen van burgerdoden aan Palestijnse kant. Dat het daarbij geregeld compromissen wat betreft de eigen veiligheid sluit, wordt in de berichtgeving structureel onderbelicht. 

IDF: Palestinian civilians have no business near border
IDF notes increase in infiltration attempts from Gaza. Saturday's attempts end in 7 arrests, 1 casualty.
'We have no intention of harming Palestinian civilians, but must treat every attempt as a terror threat'
Hanan Greenberg YNET Published: 08.18.07, 20:59 / Israel News,7340,L-3439078,00.html

A Palestinian man was killed Saturday afternoon by IDF troops in northern Gaza, just south of the Karni goods crossing. The army said troops identified three Palestinians advancing towards the security fence and behaving in a suspicious manner. After the men ignored calls to stop and turn around, the soldiers fired toward their legs.

One of the men was killed and the army contacted the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza to send an ambulance to evacuate him. The two other Palestinians were lightly wounded and taken for questioning by Israeli forces.

The IDF has launched a probe into the incident and it remains unclear if the men were terror operatives or civilians trying to enter Israel to seek work. Palestinian sources said the men are unaffiliated with terror groups.

Earlier in the day five Palestinians infiltrated Israel near Kibbutz Be'eri. Searches took more than an hour and a helicopter was called in to assist efforts. The five were eventually caught and taken in for questioning.

The IDF Gaza battalion is closely monitoring the increase in infiltration attempts. Over the past three weeks, 10 gunmen have been killed while trying to plant bombs alongside the security fence. The explosive devices are primarily used against IDF border patrols but have also been detonated against border crossings.

"Our goal is to stop anyone who approaches the fence; sometimes it's civilians, sometimes it's terrorists and sometimes it's terrorists pretending to be civilians, so the mission is very complex," said a military official. "We have no intention of harming civilians, but it's often impossible to ascertain the intent of each individual infiltrator."

Due to the fact that the fence acts as a barrier for Gaza terrorists seeking to carry out attacks inside Israel, the security establishment tried to create an impenetrable fence after the disengagement using advanced technology developed for guarding borders. Two years after the last Israeli left Gaza, the project has not yet been completed.

'Civilians know approaching the border is dangerous'

Some of the technological innovations haven't been authorized due to concerns that civilians unaffiliated with terror may be hurt. Other ideas have yet to receive the necessary budgeting.

The army says the desire to avoid civilian casualties often leads to successful infiltrations.

"We treat every person advancing towards the fence as a potential terror threat, because if we don't, we may find ourselves with the aftermath of a terror attack.

"Civilians have no business near the fence and it is very clear to them that approaching it is dangerous," said the military official.

Recently several similar incidents have led to massive nationwide manhunts after successful infiltrations. Two weeks ago central Israel came to a standstill after two Palestinians managed to cross the fence and   reach the village of Tira in the Sharon region. The two were later confirmed to have been searching for work.

Two additional Palestinians were apprehended in the central city of Bat Yam after an Israeli citizen helped them leave Gaza with his private vehicle.
Ali Waked contributed to this report

maandag 20 augustus 2007

Rusland levert nieuwe wapens aan Syrië

Met alle aandacht voor en kritiek op de grote hoeveelheden wapens die de VS in de regio pompt, volgens eigen zeggen om de gematigde krachten sterker te maken tegenover de radikalen, is het van belang niet te vergeten dat Rusland Syrië en Iran voorziet van de meest moderne wapensystemen. Dit is maar één van de vele berichten van een deal tussen Rusland en Syrië.
Volgens Israëlische inlichtingen zijn Russische wapens ook al naar de Hezbollah gesmokkeld.
Uiteraard doen zowel de VS als Rusland dit uit eigenbelang. De VS koopt zo, na het debacle en gezichtsverlies in Irak, zijn invloed in het Midden-Oosten. Wapenleveranties aan Israël maken dat land extra gevoelig voor druk van de VS, en door het enige land te zijn met invloed op Israël is de VS de enige die de Arabieren hun land kan teruggeven. (De vrede tussen Israël en Egypte is hier een goed voorbeeld van, lees hier meer over in dit artikel op ZioNation.)
Rusland wil zich doen gelden als (her)nieuw(d)e wereldmacht van formaat, en ondanks de eigen problemen met terrorisme neemt het in het Israëlisch-Palestijns conflict een meer pro-Palestijnse positie in.

Syria reportedly gets Russian SA-22s Staff, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 18, 2007

Syria has begun delivery of the first batch of anti-aircraft missile and gun range land-based Pantsyr-S1E defense systems (SA-22 E in NATO terminology), the Web site of Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Saturday.

The report, based on wires from the arms-related branch of the Russian Tass news agency, cited a previously signed agreement between Syria and Russia for the purchase of 50 sets of the system for a total of about $900 million. According to other sources, however, the signed deal included only 34-36 systems.

Army Radio reported that Russian military officials agreed to the deal only after Syria vowed that the systems would not be resold or distributed to a third country, such as Lebanon or Iran.

But in May, the reputable Jane's Defense Weekly reported that Syria agreed to transfer ten of the systems to Iran.

In the past year, Israel accused Russia of supplying the Lebanese Shi'ite organization Hizbullah with weapons systems which were later used against Israeli tanks during the Second Lebanon War. The systems allegedly used by Hizbullah were older than the SA-22 E, which is a new development based on older SA-19 and SA-N-11 systems.

Vitaly Shlykov, a member of Russia's Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, slammed the Israeli claims as "silly rumors". Alexander Rybas, a top official of KBP Instrument Design Bureau, denied the allegations, saying "Hizbullah has not and would not have been able to own [Russian-made systems]."

The SA-22 E, produced by KBP, a precision weaponry manufacturer based in Tula, Russia, is a combined surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system. The versatile platform can be mounted either on a tracked or wheeled vehicle.

The system contains 12 missiles with a range of 1-12 km., carrying a load of 16 kg. each. The guns on the SA-22 E are of a 30mm. caliber, capable of firing 700 rounds per minute. The system requires two operators and a driver for the carrying vehicle.

According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the recently developed SA-22 E will be dispatched to Syria even before its deployment in the Russian military.

Other clients of the system are China, Greece and the United Arab Emirates, which already owns 50 systems, half on wheeled vehicles and half on tracked carriers.

Etnische zuivering in Palestina?

Plan Dalet (een aanvalsplan van het Joods ondergrondse leger, de Haganah), waar in onderstaand artikel naar wordt verwezen, was geen blauwdruk voor etnische zuivering van de Palestijnen, maar voorzag in de al dan niet tijdelijke evacuatie of verdrijving van Arabieren uit strategisch gelegen dorpen binnen of langs de grenzen van Israël of ter verdediging van daarbuiten gelegen Joodse nederzettingen, bijvoorbeeld langs de weg van Tel Aviv naar Jeruzalem, die bijna een half jaar geblokkeerd is geweest met de actieve hulp van deze dorpelingen.
Voor meer informatie over dit plan, zie: Plan Daleth (op MidEastWeb).
Jerusalem Post, Aug. 17, 2007
Ethnic cleansing in Palestine?
by Seth Frantzman

As negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority aimed at creating a Palestinian state willing to live side-by-side with Israel in peace resume, one of the major sticking points continues to be the Arab refugee issue. Bitter arguments among politicians and scholars continue to surround the creation of the refugee problem during Israel's War of Independence in 1948.

It has become fashionable in recent decades to frame the 1948 war as one in which the Arabs were victims of Zionist aggression. Anti-Zionist scholars such as Noam Chomsky, Rashid Khalidi and Ilan Pappe have presented the war as if the only important events were Deir Yassin and the flight or expulsion of Arabs from Haifa, Acre, Tiberias, west Jerusalem, Jaffa and numerous villages.

IN THIS context, Ilan Pappe's work deserves special attention. He was born to a German Jewish family in Haifa in 1954. The former senior lecturer in the University of Haifa's Department of Political Science recently announced he was moving to the UK because it had become "increasingly difficult to live in Israel" with his "unwelcome views and convictions."

These views are those of the "new historians" - leftist scholars who in the 1980s began to reinterpret Israeli and Palestinian history. He is the author of six works on the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict and the Middle East. In his recently released book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Pappe claims that Israel prepared a special plan for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine's Arab population known as Plan D for dalet. Pappe's "evidence" is derived from his interpretations of files found in the Hagana and Israel state archives.

One of his most damning pieces of evidence is the village surveys carried out by the Hagana's intelligence units. These surveys go into minute detail about many Arab villages, including the number of armed men, the mukhtar and any anti-Jewish activity in the village. Pappe lends further evidence to his thesis by showing that Jewish forces, whether Hagana, Irgun or Lehi, attacked Arab villages even before the declaration of the state on May 15, 1948.

But Pappe makes one egregious mistake. He never bothers to ask the same question of the Arabs he does of the Jews: What about their lists, their intelligence reports and their ethnic-cleansing plans? What were Arab intentions in the five months between the passage of the UN partition plan on November 29, 1947, and the birth of Israel?

THE ARCHIVES of The Palestine Post, now The Jerusalem Post and then the newspaper of record of Mandatory Palestine, provide some of the answers and tell a very different story from the one presented by Pappe.

Sixty-two Jews were murdered by Arabs in the first week after the UN partition plan was passed, and by May 15, 1948, a total of 1,256 Jews had been killed, most of them civilians. These deaths were caused by Arab militias, gangs, terrorists and army units which attacked every place of Jewish inhabitation in Palestine.

The attacks succeeded in placing Jerusalem under siege and eventually cutting off its water supply. All Jewish villages in the Negev were attacked, and Jews had to go about the country in convoys. In every major city where Jews and Arabs lived in mixed neighborhoods the Jewish areas came under attack. This was true in Haifa's Hadar Hacarmel as well as Jerusalem's Old City.

Massacres were not uncommon.

THIRTY-NINE Jews were killed by Arab rioters at Haifa's oil refinery on December 30, 1947. On January 16, 1948, 35 Jews were killed trying to reach Gush Etzion. On February 22, 44 Jews were murdered in a bombing on Jerusalem's Rehov Ben-Yehuda. And on February 29, 23 Jews were killed all across Palestine, eight of them at the Hayotzek iron foundry.

Thirty-five Jews were murdered during the Mount Scopus convoy massacre on April 13. And 127 Jews were massacred at Kfar Etzion on May 15, 1948, after 30 others had died defending the Etzion Bloc.

IN ARAB countries more than 100 Jews were also massacred and synagogues were burned in Aleppo and Aden, driving thousands of Jews from their homes.

Back in Palestine many small kibbutzim were subjected to attacks, including Gvulot, Ben-Shemen, Holon, Safed, Bat Yam and Kfar Yavetz - all in December. In January and February, it was the turn of Rishon Lezion, Yehiam, Mishmar Hayarden, Tirat Zvi, Sde Eliahu, Ein Hanatziv, Magdiel, Mitzpe Hagalil and Ma'anit.

In March and April these attacks culminated with an assault on Hartuv by 400 Arabs based in the village of Ishwa and an attack on Kfar Darom by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Arab attackers also bombed The Palestine Post in February. In March, the Jewish Agency, the Solel Boneh building in Haifa and an Egged bus were also bombed.

SOME OF today's scholars prefer to present every massacre of Jews as a "response" to some Jewish deed, and to portray as a "myth" the very idea that Israel struggled desperately for existence in 1948.

But it was no myth.

The fact is 1,256 Jews were killed in five months. Even before the first Arab villages were captured in April, 924 Jews had already been killed. Ilan Pappe should have pondered what might have been if those Jews had not been slaughtered.

What if attacks and riots had not been the first Arab reaction to the partition plan?

Plan Dalet was a plan, it was one of many plans. The lists compiled by the Hagana had been cobbled together for a decade before 1948, but they were not blueprints - merely intelligence assessments. The British also kept lists of everything; they knew about weapons in various kibbutzim, about the Hagana and illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine. Those lists weren't blueprints for ethnic cleansing anymore than were the Hagana files on Arab villages.

When a Jewish area was overrun - and some were - the homes were looted or destroyed and any survivors were killed, as at Kfar Etzion (only three of the defenders survived the massacre).

The potential for the ethnic cleansing of Jewish Palestine was never realized because of the discipline, determination and sheer luck of the Yishuv.

If the Arabs had not carried out across the board attacks throughout the Yishuv between 1947 and 1948, perhaps the nature of the subsequent Jewish victory would have been different. As it was, the ceaseless attacks against all isolated Jewish settlements only gave Zionist commanders every reason to see neighboring Arab villages as threatening and to act accordingly.

Scholarship - including that of the "new historians" - on the 1948 war will remain incomplete until methodical studies are carried out about widespread and often well-planned Arab assaults on the Yishuv.

The writer is in the doctoral program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His master's thesis was on the 1948 war.

Moslim Zionist Shoaib Choudhury uit Bangladesh

Joden die tegen het Zionisme zijn, zoals aktivisten als Noam Chomsky en Ilan Pappe of de fundamentalistische Neturei Karta groep, kunnen overal vrij over straat gaan, in Israël, Europa of de VS, en zijn ook welkom om met Hezbollah in Libanon aan te pappen, Ahmadinejad de hand te schudden op een Holocaust-ontkennings-conferentie in Iran of kunnen zelfs minister worden in de Palestijnse Autoriteit (hoezo antisemitisme?).
Moslims die zich voor het Zionisme uitspreken, echter, lopen tenminste in islamitische landen gevaar, zoals Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury in Bangladesh, wie al 4 jaar een rechtzaak wegens landverraad en andere zaken boven het hoofd hangt, waarop bij veroordeling de doodstraf staat.
Meer over hem in 3 talen:


Canadian Jewish News
Cotler client [Shoaib Choudhury] faces execution

When you speak to Shoaib Choudhury on the phone, it seems almost unfathomable that this man who is laughing and sounds so relaxed and serene is facing charges that lead to his execution if he is convicted.

The Bangladeshi journalist and editor of the English-language Weekly Blitz has, for almost four years, lived almost every day under a Sword of Damocles for daring to be a pro-Israel Muslim and for crusading against the forces of radical Islam that he says are taking over his beloved country.

At writing, Choudhury was scheduled, after five postponements in less than a year, to go on trial Aug. 17 for sedition, treason and blasphemy, charges all dating back to his attempt to travel to Israel in 2003 to give a speech on interfaith dialogue.

Since then, he has been attacked, beaten, tortured and jailed, and efforts to have the charges against him dropped – including by his international counsel, MP Irwin Cotler – have failed.

Yet, speaking on Aug. 5 to The CJN during a trip to the United States – he was allowed to leave his country for the trip – Choudhury, in contrast to his upbeat manner, also came across as a man of serious and determined conviction and moral courage.

"If I am convicted or I am executed, it will not change our mission," he said. "I am sure that someone else would take over."

Choudhury is almost serene in that knowledge and acceptance. His wife, Happy, and two children, daughter Priyanka, 17, and son Hamzalah, 7, he said, support him completely. So, he added, do thousands of fellow Bangladeshis who share his pluralistic sensibilities and are fighting with him for the forces enlightenment to prevail over the tide of radical Islam in his country that is rising despite its origins as a secular parliamentary democracy.

"There's a large, large number of Bangladeshi people who feel the same as we do," Choudhury said, "and many of them – or at least some of them – have openly expressed their support for me," in particular the Bangladesh Minority Lawyers Association, which is representing him in court.

On the other hand, most top-ranked lawyers in Bangladesh won't touch his case, "because they think if they support a Muslim Zionist, it will hamper their careers," he noted. "They don't like to support me, but I don't care."

On the eve of returning to his country, Choudhury was buoyed by his six-day trip to New York, New Jersey and Washington, where he addressed synagogue audiences, visited Capitol Hill, and lunched with the American Jewish Committee, which last year presented Choudhury, at the time in absentia, with its Moral Courage Award.

He also received some excellent news during the trip. Despite Choudhury's own belief that a diagnosed case of glaucoma was causing impairment of sight in his right eye, a New York doctor told him that he has never had the disease, just the effects of a bad eye infection that was never properly treated and made worse by sleeping on a jail floor under poor conditions.

Throughout the trip, Choudhury was accompanied by Richard Benkin, a Jewish activist who was able to help Choudhury get out of prison on bail in 2005. The two invariably address each other as "my brother" and launched a website together – –  to promote understanding among religions.

Still, they don't necessarily agree on everything. Despite his generally optimistic outlook, Choudhury thinks there is only a 50-50 chance that charges against him will be dropped, and it won't be accomplished so easily, because of the necessity to "appease radical forces."

Benkin told The CJN that while the fact that Choudhury was allowed out of his country might be taken as a positive sign, "it's not good policy to wait and hope that things go well."

Benkin believes the current interim Bangladeshi government "has to see that if the case is not resolved, there could be some real, serious consequences," particularly with regard to trade benefits.

"There are many possible routes by which these charges can be dropped," Benkin said, but he quoted Cotler to the effect that you cannot expect Bangladesh to do the "logical" or "right" thing.

"It defies logic that until this point, the sedition charges against him remain," Benkin said, "while they have been dropped against other journalists. It's almost four years later, and the government has yet to produce its first shred of credible evidence that there's anything here to deal with."

Choudhury has on occasion identified with the notion that he is living out the pages of a Franz Kafka novel. Benkin sometimes calls him "Joseph K," the protagonist in Kafka's masterpiece, The Trial.

Then there's what Choudhury considers the completely laughable notion that he has been a Mossad spy – "I mean, it's too funny!" – or that he is "blasphemous" in his acceptance of other religions.

Choudhury said he inherited his tolerant, open nature from his father, who received a master's degree in India and instilled in his family the principle "never to hate any particular religion."

Choudhury first met Jews when he was starting out as a journalist, "and they were many of my colleagues. They were wonderful."

It is incomprehensible to him why his country has not yet recognized Israel, a nation that was among the first to recognize Bangladeshi independence in 1971. Choudhury has referred to himself proudly as a "Muslim Zionist" and said that "as a Bangladeshi, I feel personally obligated towards Israel."

Choudhury is grateful for the support he has received from the West, most notably in the form of strong resolutions by the U.S. Congress and the European Union. He is also grateful for Cotler's efforts and for representations made by the Canadian government on his behalf and by other canadians, including a letter in May sent by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression to Bangladesh's high commissioner in Ottawa.

Whatever support he may have, however, Choudhury is facing a real threat if charges against him are not dropped. Yet, as Benkin said, Choudhury "would not entertain any notion of not going back," despite several offers of political asylum.

"He would never even consider it," Benkin said.


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Israël neemt 500 vluchtelingen uit Darfur op

Eigenlijk zou Israël alle vluchtelingen uit Darfur moeten opnemen, zoals ieder beschaafd land zou moeten doen, maar om één of andere reden interesseert het ons meer wat Israël doet dan wat Egypte doet, die ze zonder pardon terugstuurt naar Soedan, in elkaar slaat of zelfs doodschiet.
Het volgende citaat toont Israëls dilemma in een notedop:
Schwartz objected to any such ban. "The state of Israel has to show compassion for refugees after the Jewish people was subject to persecution throughout its history," he said.
But Ephraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said the Jewish people could not be expected to right every wrong just because of its past.
Dit laatste bevat ook een les voor ons: niet alleen kan het kleine Israël het wereldleed niet op zijn schouders nemen (al zou het, in verschillende opzichten, wel wat meer kunnen doen dan nu), het is onjuist van Israël meer te verwachten dan van andere landen vanwege het verleden van de Joden. Het is mooi om uit een verleden van onderdrukking en vervolging de motivatie te halen om op te komen voor de onderdrukten en vervolgden, zoals het ook mooi is om deze motivatie te halen uit een religieuze overtuiging, uit humanistische waarden of uit het feit dat je zelf tot een bevoorrechte groep hoort in de wereld. Dit betekent niet dat we het religieuzen en humanisten meer dan atheisten of nihilisten kwalijk kunnen nemen als zij dit niet doen; ieder mens (en ieder land) heeft dezelfde plicht goed te doen. 

Aug. 19, 2007 9:59 | Updated Aug. 19, 2007 16:38
PM: Israel to take 500 Darfur refugees

Despite expelling nearly 50 Sudanese refugees in an overnight operation on Saturday, Israel has agreed to absorb 500 asylum-seekers from Darfur, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced on Sunday.

Nevertheless, he said Israel would begin turning away refugees from the war torn region of Sudan in an effort to stop the flow of Africans across Israel's southern border with Egypt.
Egyptian security said late Saturday that Israel sent back 48 Africans, most of them Sudanese, across the border with Egypt.

Government spokesman David Baker said he didn't know if any were from Darfur, but that Darfurians wouldn't be immune from Israel's ban on unauthorized migrants.

"The policy of returning back anyone who enters Israel illegally will pertain to everyone, including those from Darfur," he said.

Egyptian police said Darfurians were among the 48 - and would be expelled from Egypt to Sudan.

Fighting between pro-government militias and rebels in the Western Sudanese region of Darfur has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million since February 2003.
Eytan Schwartz, an advocate for Darfur refugees in Israel, said about 400 have entered Israel in recent years. Baker said they would be allowed to live in Israel, and that the ban applied to new arrivals.

Schwartz objected to any such ban. "The state of Israel has to show compassion for refugees after the Jewish people was subject to persecution throughout its history," he said.
But Ephraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said the Jewish people could not be expected to right every wrong just because of its past.

"Israel can't throw open the gates and allow unlimited access for people who are basically economic refugees," Zuroff said.

An Israeli government official said Egypt has agreed to treat the Darfur refugees well, but acknowledged it might send them back to Sudan.

Israel estimates that 2,800 people have entered the country illegally through Sinai in recent years. Nearly all are from Africa, including 1,160 from Sudan, and many spent months or years in Egypt before entering Israel.

The number of infiltrators shot up in the past two months, apparently as word spread of job opportunities in Israel. As many as 50 people arrived each day in June, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Israel recently announced it had reached an understanding with Egypt to take back many of the refugees and that they would be treated well. But Egypt has denied any obligation to take them back, and it was unclear what fate expelled Africans would face once returned to Egypt.

Many Sudanese find life difficult in Egypt, a country that struggles to provide jobs and social services for a growing refugee population. Egyptian riot police violently cleared a refugee encampment in central Cairo in 2005, killing nearly 30 people.

In July, Egyptian police shot and killed a Sudanese woman who was trying to cross into Israel, the first confirmed death of its kind.

And earlier this month, Channel 10 reported that Egyptian border guards beat to death two Sudanese men in front of IDF soldiers.

Egypt neither confirmed nor denied the incident.

Smokkelaars uit Gaza graven tunnels onder grens met Egypte

Het graven van tunnels onder de grens met Egypte is niet nieuw, en Israël probeert dit ook al jaren tegen te gaan. De tunnels worden zowel voor de smokkel van wapens als voor andere goederen als sigaretten gebruikt, en in een enkel geval worden zo zelfs mensen de grens over gesmokkeld. Het is een lucratieve business waar sommige mensen een goede boterham mee verdienen. Sinds de machtsovername door Hamas en de isolatie van der Gazastrook, zijn de prijzen flink gestegen.
Hamas probeert controle over de tunnels en de smokkelaars te krijgen om ze voor eigen doeleinden te gebruiken. Het kan maanden duren voor een tunnel klaar is en de prijs kan oplopen tot meer dan $100.000. Ondanks de openheid van de smokkelaars, en beeldmateriaal van diverse tunnels en het feit dat Israël er verschillende heeft vernietigd, ontkent Hamas het bestaan ervan:

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum denied the existence of tunnels in Gaza.
"Israel is claiming there are tunnels just to spoil the relationship between us and our brothers in Egypt," he said.

Dat liegen Hamas goed afgaat zou eigenlijk geen nieuws mogen zijn. Maar dat is nog niet erg doorgedrongen tot het journaal en sommige Westerse journalisten.


Gazans bore under border with Egypt
Gaza smugglers create underground world in dark, cramped tunnels.

By Kevin Frayer
Friday, August 17, 2007

RAFAH, Gaza Strip - Gazans are finding an antidote to their growing isolation: digging tunnels under their border with Egypt to smuggle everything from weapons to cigarettes to people.

A group of smugglers recently gave an Associated Press photographer rare permission to accompany them as they dug one tunnel.

Smuggling tunnels range in length from 100 yards to a half-mile, beginning and ending inside homes, animal pens or abandoned buildings. They can cost $5,000 to $200,000 to build, depending on size and sophistication. But profits, too, can be high, as much as $10,000 for smuggling one person.

Palestinian diggers, wearing masks to conceal their identities, use a pulley to remove sand from a smuggling tunnel in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on the border with Egypt.

In underground darkness with stifling heat and limited air supply, the diggers painstakingly removed sand and rubble as they crawled through cramped spaces carrying portable lamps and homemade tools.

The southern Gaza town of Rafah has long been a key conduit for underground weapons smuggling, mostly controlled by a handful of local clans. With Israel imposing a strict closure of Gaza's borders in the aftermath of Hamas militants' violent seizure of the coastal territory in June, more and more smugglers are taking a piece of the action.

The stakes are higher than ever. Smugglers find themselves pursued by Israel, which fears the militants' growing arsenal; by Egypt, which is under growing pressure to crack down on tunnel diggers; and by Hamas, which doesn't oppose tunnels but wants to control them.

The diggers, who refused to give their names and wore masks to shield their identities, said tunnels must be deeper and longer than ever before to avoid detection. The tunnels often take weeks or months to dig, and the tunnelers sleep where they work to avoid getting caught.

Tunnelers smuggle machine guns, rifles, ammunition, explosive devices, grenade launchers and other munitions. Cigarettes, drugs, gold, automobile parts and people also move through the shafts.

The AP wasn't allowed to see what goods were moving through the tunnel.

Some Gaza tunnels are only wide enough to carry in contraband no larger than a rifle, pulled through with a rope.

Others, such as the one seen by AP, are big enough for a person. Still, once inside there's not enough room to turn around, so every 100 yards or so, a wider space is dug to enable a change of direction.

Israel estimates there are dozens of tunnels. They range in length from 100 yards to a half-mile. They begin and end in unlikely places: under the floor tiles of kitchens, inside bedroom closets or animal pens, in the nooks of abandoned buildings. People who allow their dwellings to be used for tunnels are paid.

Runners said it is most profitable to smuggle in goods such as cigarettes rather than weapons because Hamas has prohibited ordinary citizens and rival militants from carrying arms.

"After they (Hamas) took over and started controlling who can have weapons, nobody wants them any more. So why should we bring them in?" one smuggler said.

Other tunnels, however, are squarely in Hamas' hands, and Israeli officials say weapons smuggling by the militant group is going strong.

Smuggling has a long history in the area. Egypt once used a camel corps to intercept above-ground Bedouin caravans, but for years has relied on vehicle patrols. During Israel's withdrawal from Sinai, smugglers buried Mercedes cars and other vehicles in the desert sand so they could retrieve and sell them after Israel withdrew from the territory, without having to pay Egyptian taxes.

Gaza's tunnels are a major frustration for Israel, which has carried out dozens of raids to destroy them, often killing both militants and civilians.

"The Hamas terror organization continues to busy itself with the smuggling of huge quantities of weapons for use against Israel. These tunnels continue to be the main source of the weapons supplies to Palestinian terrorists," Israeli government spokesman David Baker said.

Tunnelers said Hamas has been trying to take over tunnels for its own smuggling — showing little tolerance for freelance smugglers.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum denied the existence of tunnels in Gaza.

"Israel is claiming there are tunnels just to spoil the relationship between us and our brothers in Egypt," he said.

Smuggling people through a tunnel can cost as much as $10,000 each, depending on their importance or whether they are wanted by Israel, the smugglers said.

Runners say the process of moving a person from Egypt involves intricate planning and coordination with the other side.

"He's handed to someone there. He stays over at that person's place, and then we bring him in at night at an agreed time," a smuggler said.

Depending on the length, width and sophistication of tunnels, they can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $200,000 to build.

That cost is the biggest incentive for smugglers to move as much contraband as possible. Profits, too, can be high, with more than a few Gaza millionaires created by smuggling.

One tunneler said the shaft he was digging would take four months to complete and that he expected to earn $12,000 for his efforts, a fortune in impoverished Gaza.

*** Balanced Middle East News ***
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