zaterdag 28 maart 2009

IDF T-Shirts als wapens van de Wijzen van Zion

Hoe smakeloos ze ook zijn, het is natuurlijk vrij bezopen dat een paar Tshirts die soldaten privé laten drukken ter afscheid van de dienst in een bepaalde divisie of legeronderdeel, wereldnieuws zijn en moeten bewijzen wat voor een gruwelijke oorlogscriminelen die Zionisten honden wel niet zijn.
Het Israelische leger moet nodig wat aan zijn PR doen, en om enig tegenwicht te bieden, en de waarheid te vertellen, doet Ami Isseroff ze wat ideeën aan de hand. Gebaseerd op waar gebeurde zaken en niet op geruchten die niet bleken te kloppen.

We really need to do something to improve the image of Israel and Zionism (See Israel is losing the war for hearts and minds). According to the ancient book, "The Art of War," the best war tactic is to strike the enemy where he is weakest. Terror groupies have two weaknesses - they are truth-challenged (wouldn't want to use that non-PC word) and they are fanatics. Fanatics are usually humorless. So a good tactic is to tell the truth (see Truth is the best propaganda for Israel and Doing our patriotic duty).

Recently, Amos Harel of Haaretz created a sensation by "exposing" the "confessions" of alleged "Zionist war criminal" soldiers. The soldiers told of some "war crimes," which, as it turns out, never happened. One soldier, however, told of having to fold the blankets and tidy up after staying in a Gaza house, which was the home of a family of Hamas terrorists "activists." That was the only part of the "confessions" that is verified by eye-witnesses. A terrible Zionist crime for certain!

Another story "exposed" the somewhat questionable black humor of souvenir T-shirts ordered by IDF troops, a story that was blown up out of proportion to its worth. Both these stories created sensations among all the terror groupies. Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur in charge of calling Israelis Nazis, announced that he is certain the IDF committed war crimes.

We have created some appropriate IDF elite commando unit T-shirt designs of our own. Be the first on your block to own these macho hardline Jew Zionist T-Shirts! Guaranteed politically cracked!

You can see them all at IDF Commando T-Shirts

Terror groupies - Falk you!.

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2009. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.


Andere verhalen van Israelische soldaten in Gaza

Het zal de Nederlandse pers niet halen, maar veel Israelische soldaten deden hun best om Palestijnse burgers te helpen tijdens de Gaza Oorlog, en herkenden niks van de verhalen die eerder naar buiten kwamen over het doodschieten van ongewapende burgers.
The Jerusalem Post
Mar 26, 2009 21:16 | Updated Mar 27, 2009 14:45
Soldiers tell of assisting Palestinians

Descriptions of soldier's units' experiences during Operation Cast Lead are being used to illustrate humane measures which were taken by the army to assist Palestinian civilians during the conflict.

The soldiers recorded their testimonies and placed them on a Web site,, as part of an initiative by the Israel education organization StandWithUs.

Nina Klevipsky, 24, who served as a supervisor in a Home Front Command medical control room, helped coordinate several airlifts of wounded Palestinian civilians to Israeli hospitals.

She told The Jerusalem Post that dozens of Palestinians were evacuated by Israel to hospitals in Beersheba and Rehovot during the 22-day operation.

"The minute we learned of a need to evacuate, we prepared the hospitals, the landing pads, and mobilized the doctors. Afterwards, we oversaw continued hospital care for the Palestinians," Klevispsky said.

She added that she viewed with skepticism, recent allegations of the targeting of civilians by IDF soldiers.

On Wednesday, an IDF source told the Post that the claims had been found to be categorically untrue by official army investigations which would soon be released to the public.

"I did not believe a word of these accounts. I know the soldiers who go in. I know how they operate, what values they received at home and in the army. There is no way such orders could have gone out," Klevispsky said.

"I have full faith in the army. I do a month of reserves every year. If for a second I thought these were the procedures, I would not show up to serve. I serve in a moral army - my job is to save lives, not harm them," she added.

Amir Golan, a 25-year-old medic, had entered Gaza with his reserve Givati unit during the recent Gaza incursion. "I never saw anything like that," Golan told the Post, in reference to the recent allegations.

"I was very disappointed by the Israeli media. It pained me that people don't show integrity, because I know that someone examining this from the outside will view this very harshly," he added.

Golan said there was never any hostility towards Palestinian civilians among members of his unit. "I think the general spirit was that there we were there to protect our homes from rocket fire. We were highly motivated," he said.

"It always hurts when people suffer. It was clear the operation would cause suffering in general, but we hoped that if we could stop the rockets we could end the suffering on both sides," Golan said.

Golan is a veteran of Gaza operations, having entered the Strip with his unit in the past. During one counter-terrorism raid in 2005, Golan encountered a pregnant woman inside a home belonging to a wanted terrorist.

"We saw a woman who started complaining about a stomach ache. I was ordered by my commander to check her medically," Amir said. "It turned out she was going into labor. I did everything I could in order to help her... for obvious reasons she didn't want to give birth there. She was hoping to get to a Palestinian hospital," he continued.

"So what we did was to evacuate our force really fast out of there. And we almost ran away from there," Amir added. "We called [for] a Palestinian ambulance to come as fast as it could and evacuate her," he said. "I pulled some strings and I tried to follow up on the woman. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy."

vrijdag 27 maart 2009

Palestijnse kinderen zingen voor overlevenden Holocaust

Temidden van alle ellende zijn dit de dingen die nog enige hoop levend houden, maar het wordt ook pijnlijk duidelijk hoe weinig men van elkaar weet en hoe groot de vooroordelen zijn.
Ik heb er wel wat twijfels over dat Israels bestaan en bestaansrecht zo worden gekoppeld aan de Holocaust. Als alle overlevenden dood zijn, moeten de Joden dan maar weer verkassen? Serieus, het lijkt mij belangrijk dat beide kanten leren dat de ander ook verbonden is met het land en er evenzeer thuis hoort als het eigen volk. De Holocaust heeft op extreme wijze duidelijk gemaakt dat de Joden een eigen staat nodig hebben, een plek waar zij altijd heen kunnen gaan, maar is zeker niet de enige rechtvaardiging voor deze staat.

Last update - 08:50 26/03/2009       
Palestinian children sing for Holocaust survivors
By The Associated Press
The Palestinian youths from a tough West Bank refugee camp stood facing the elderly Holocaust survivors on Wednesday, appearing somewhat defiant in a teenage sort of way. Then they began to sing.
The choir burst into songs for peace, bringing surprised smiles from the audience. But the event had another twist: Most of the Holocaust survivors did not know the youths were Palestinians from the West Bank, a rare sight in Israel these days. And the youths had no idea they were performing for people who lived through Nazi genocide - or even what the Holocaust was.
"I feel sympathy for them," said Ali Zeid, an 18-year-old keyboard player, who added that he was shocked by what he learned about the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed 6 million Jews in their campaign to wipe out European Jewry.
"Only people who have been through suffering understand each other," said Zeid, who said his grandparents were Palestinian refugees forced to flee the northern city of Haifa during the war that followed Israel's creation in 1948.
The 13 musicians, aged 11 to 18, belong to Strings of Freedom, a modest orchestra from the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, the scene of a deadly 2002 battle between Palestinian militants and Israeli soldiers.
The event, held at the Holocaust Survivors Center in this tree-lined central Israeli town, was part of Good Deeds Day, an annual event run by an organization connected to billionaire Shari Arison, Israel's richest woman.
The two-hour meeting starkly highlighted how distant Palestinians and Israelis have become after more than eight years of bloody Palestinian militant attacks and deadly Israeli military reprisals.
Most of the Palestinian youths had not seen an Israeli civilian before - only gun-toting soldiers in military uniforms manning checkpoints, conducting arrest raids of wanted Palestinians or during army operations.
"They don't look like us," said Ahed Salameh, 12, who wore a black head scarf woven with silver.
Most of the elderly Israelis wore pants and T-shirts, with women sporting a smear of lipstick.
"Old people look different where we come from," Salameh said.
She said she was shocked to hear about the Nazi genocide against Jews. Ignorance and even denial of the Holocaust is widespread in Palestinian society.
Amnon Beeri of the Abraham Fund, which supports coexistence between Jews and Arabs, said most of the region's residents have no real idea about the other.
The youths said their feisty conductor, Wafa Younis, 50, tried to explain to them who the elderly people were, but chaos on the bus prevented them from listening.
The elderly audience said they assumed Arab children were from a nearby village - not from the refugee camp where 23 Israeli soldiers were killed, alongside 53 Palestinian militants and civilians, in several days of battle in April 2002.
Some 30 elderly survivors gathered in the center's hall as teenage boys and girls filed in 30 minutes late - delayed at an Israeli military checkpoint outside their town, they later explained.
Some of the young women wore Muslim head scarves - but also sunglasses and school ties.
As a host announced in Hebrew that the youths were from the Jenin refugee camp, there were gasps and muttering from the crowd. "Jenin?" one woman asked in jaw-dropped surprise.
Younis, from the Arab village of Ara in Israel, then explained in fluent Hebrew that the youths would sing for peace, prompting the audience to burst into applause.
"Inshallah," said Sarah Glickman, 68, using the Arabic term for God willing.
The encounter began with an Arabic song, "We sing for peace," and was followed by two musical pieces with violins and Arabic drums, as well as an impromptu song in Hebrew by two in the audience.
Glickman, whose family moved to the newly created Jewish state in 1949 after fleeing to Siberia to escape the Nazis, said she had no illusions the encounter would make the children understand the Holocaust. But she said it might make a small difference.
"They think we are strangers, because we came from abroad," Glickman said. "I agree: It's their land, also. But there was no other option for us after the Holocaust."
Later, she tapped her feet in tune as the teenagers played a catchy Mideast drum beat. After the event, some of the elderly Israelis chatted with students and took pictures together.
The encounter was not absent of politics. Younis dedicated a song to an Israeli soldier held captive by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip - and also criticized Israel's occupation of the West Bank.
But she said the main mission of the orchestra, formed seven years ago to help Palestinian children overcome war trauma, was to bring people together.
"I'm here to raise spirits," Younis said. "These are poor, old people."

Egyptische krant negatief over 30 jaar vrede met Israel

Egypte krijgt circa 2 miljard dollar per jaar van de VS en goedkoop of gratis het modernste oorlogsmaterieel in ruil voor de vrede met Israel, dus Al Quds Al Arabi kletst uit zijn nek. Het laat wel zien hoe mijlenver we nog zijn verwijderd van acceptatie van Israel in de Arabische wereld, een voorwaarde voor vrede.
Dat het onder controle van de Egyptische regering staande Al Ahram zich zo anti-Israel uitlaat is helaas vrij normaal, en dit is zelfs nog mild in vergelijking met wat men soms schrijft aan wilde beschuldigingen tot en met Holocaust ontkenningen aan toe.
Israel blijft een aantrekkelijke afleider van de vele interne problemen in Egypte en andere Arabische staten.

Egypt's leading paper slams Israel
Mar. 26, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
On the thirtieth anniversary of the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement Egypt's leading newspaper published a scathing criticism of the Jewish state.
Israel's leaders should stop the "lowly schemes" against Cairo, Al Ahram's editorial read on Wednesday.
It was hard to understand how Israel expected to enjoy the fruits of peace while it was waging a bloody war against the Palestinians in Gaza and was constantly trying to undermine Egypt efforts to make peace with other Arab nations, the piece continued.
Israel, Al Ahram accused, chose the extreme voices of prime minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu and Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman and reneged on its understandings with Hamas regarding a prisoner release.
Elsewhere, the London-based Al Kuds al Arabi headlined its piece "30 years of disaster," and said Israel was the only side that benefited from the peace treaty.
Peace did not contribute to Egypt in any way, the article claimed, while Israelis were able to enter Egypt without need for a visa and Israel received natural gas from Egypt.

donderdag 26 maart 2009

Gerucht over doodschieten moeder met 2 kinderen in Gaza Oorlog blijkt foutief

"All of it was based on rumors. In the incident of the alleged shooting of the mother and her children, what really happened was that a marksman fired a warning shot to let them know that they were entering a no-entry zone. The shot was not even fired in their general direction," the source said.
"The marksman's commander ran up the stairs of a Palestinian home, got up on the roof, and asked the marksman why he shot at the civilians. The marksman said he did not fire on the civilians. But the soldiers on the first floor of that house heard the commander's question being shouted. And from that point, the rumor began to spread," the source added.
De lijst van zogenaamde Israelische oorlogsmisdaden en bloedbaden die achteraf niet bleken te kloppen wordt met de dag langer (Jenin, Qana, VN school in Gaza, ...). Er zijn zeker fouten gemaakt, maar de lijst van valse beschuldigingen aan het adres van Israel overtreft de reëel gemaakte fouten ruimschoots.

Mar 25, 2009 19:39 | Updated Mar 25, 2009 23:57
'Charges of civilian shootings false'
Allegations that IDF soldiers deliberately shot and killed Palestinian civilians in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead have been found to be categorically untrue in official army investigations, an IDF source told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. 

The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the results of the investigations have not yet been officially released to the public. He stressed, however, that the investigations were close to completion.
The investigations examined claims made by graduates of the Rabin Pre-military Academy during a conference held last month, which were later written up and printed in an academy pamphlet. Some Israeli media outlets, including Haaretz, then seized on the claims, and the allegations went on to make headlines around the world.
During the conference, one soldier claimed a marksman opened fire on a mother and two of her children, after a squadron commander told them to walk into a no-entry zone.

"All of the soldiers who were involved in the conference were questioned - not as a punishment - but in order to understand whether they had witnessed these things. From all of the testimonies we collected, we can safely conclude that the soldiers who made the claims did not witness the events they describe," the source said.
"All of it was based on rumors. In the incident of the alleged shooting of the mother and her children, what really happened was that a marksman fired a warning shot to let them know that they were entering a no-entry zone. The shot was not even fired in their general direction," the source said.

"The marksman's commander ran up the stairs of a Palestinian home, got up on the roof, and asked the marksman why he shot at the civilians. The marksman said he did not fire on the civilians. But the soldiers on the first floor of that house heard the commander's question being shouted. And from that point, the rumor began to spread," the source added.
"We can say with absolute certainty that the marksman did not fire on the woman and her children. Later, the company commander spoke with the marksman and his commander. We know with certainty that this incident never took place," he said.
The source said that a second allegation of killing of civilians was also false, though he could not provide further details at this stage.
"We investigate every allegation in order to see whether these incidents took place, and to draw conclusions if necessary," the source stressed.
"Unfortunately, due to competition, sections of the press picked up this story and ran with it. It is a shame the media promoted this sort of spin all over the world," he added. It is unlikely the damage to Israel's image from the allegations can be repaired, irrespective of the results of the investigation, he noted.
"It is a shame that the media allowed Palestinian manipulations to spread," he said.
"Look at the allegation that we killed 48 civilians in a UN school in Gaza. In reality, seven people were killed, and four to five of them were terrorists. The UN apologized, but the damage is done," the source said.

The Guardian verspreidt 'Hamas propaganda'

'Guardian' slammed for 'Hamas propaganda'
Mar. 25, 2009
JONNY PAUL, Jerusalem Post correspondent , THE JERUSALEM POST
Jewish groups have accused the Guardian newspaper of marketing Hamas propaganda and constructing falsehoods, after three stories over two days accused Israel of perpetrating war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.
In an article in Tuesday's Guardian, entitled "'Guardian' investigation uncovers evidence of alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza," the newspaper claimed to have evidence that Israel had committed war crimes during the 22-day operation. The newspaper's Web site showed a video clip with file photos from 2007 depicting Israeli forces using human shields, and had three Gazan teenagers recounting how they had allegedly been used as human shields by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead.
"This is the newspaper that reported the massacre at Jenin, which turned out to be false, and said also that Israel was high in an international league table for its murder of journalists and then failed to properly correct this patent falsehood," said Jonathan Hoffman, co-vice chairman of the Zionist Federation of the UK. "It is the paper that tolerates anti-Semitic content in its blog 'Comment Is Free,' and indeed encourages it by its choice of contributors."
Of course, he added, "the IDF will carefully investigate this outrageous claim, and by the time it issues the denial, people will only remember the original allegation, and the Guardian will have moved on to the next carefully constructed falsehood. It's a pas de deux of truth versus mendacity, with apparently no end."
Hoffman questioned the clip's citation of an IDF magazine found in Gaza that allegedly showed Israeli forces using human shields.
"Now we are supposed to believe... that the IDF has an 'internal' magazine which all soldiers get, but which none of them must divulge, but which was left behind by a careless soldier in Gaza," he said.
The pro-Israel Web site ZioNation accused the newspaper of "marketing Pallywood propaganda."
"The Guardian has regrettably thrown all professional journalistic ethics and pretensions to balance and objectivity to the four winds, and has gleefully annexed itself to the cause of Hamas," said Ami Isseroff, chief editor of ZioNation.
In two articles on Monday, the Guardian accused Israel of deliberately firing on Palestinian medical staff and indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians with unmanned aerial vehicles.
"Medical staff and ambulance drivers who attempted to assist casualties of the Israeli invasion of Gaza have told the Guardian that they were attacked by Israeli forces while trying to carry out their job," the article said.
The story included a video clip in which Palestinian medical staff recounted their experiences. The clip noted that Israel was a "pioneer in precision weapons and a world leader in advanced optics," then asked why 38 medical workers were killed or wounded by Israeli forces during the Gaza conflict "when they had the technology to see exactly who they were hitting."
The second article said that Israeli drones killed a family of six, a group of girls in an empty street, two children in a field and "many others." It also claimed that an investigation the paper had carried out revealed that Israel had used a variety of weapons in "illegal ways."
"Indiscriminate munitions, including shells packed with white phosphorus, were fired into densely populated areas, while precision missiles and tank shells were fired into civilian homes. But it is the use of drones in the killing of at least 48 civilians that appears most reprehensible," the article said.
The reports were written by Clancy Chassay, a Guardian correspondent in Beirut. Chassay has produced eight video reports this month accusing Israel of war crimes.
The film clips were produced by Guardian Films, which says its aim is to "produce the kind of unique work that other broadcasters no longer have the network or resources to do."
In a letter the paper sent out to blog and Web site owners, calling for them to support its work, the Guardian said the Gaza film clips were meant to "add weight to calls this week for a full inquiry into the events surrounding Operation Cast Lead, which was aimed at Hamas, but which left over 1,400 Palestinians dead - around 300 known to be children."
Guardian Films then asked the bloggers to link to their "Gaza War Crimes" page.
"Whatever happened in Gaza, it ought not to be the business of the Guardian to appoint itself judge and juror and promote itself in this way," Isseroff said.
In response, the newspaper said that "we robustly reject the suggestion that the Guardian is being used as a mouthpiece for Hamas. Indeed, anyone who reads our front page story and our leader today will see that we make it clear that a case exists against them."
Regarding Chassay's report, the paper said he had "spent weeks on his investigation, and in the interests of fair reporting we gave the IDF every opportunity to reject these claims, and at the conclusion of the video we reported in full the written the statement they supplied."
The Israeli Embassy in London said it would issue a response on Wednesday.

woensdag 25 maart 2009

Volgens IDF 600 strijders en 309 burgers onder doden Gaza Oorlog

The fatality list presented by the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has numerous inaccuracies and contradictions, the IDF says. For example, Tawfiq Ja'abari, the commander of the Hamas police, and Mohammed Shakshak, a personal assistant to the head of Hamas' military wing, Ahmed Ja'abari, are both described as dead children on the Palestinian list  
Dat zijn wel de cijfers die veelvuldig door de media worden aangehaald.
De Palestijnen beschrijven bovendien iedereeen onder de 18 jaar als een kind, terwijl veel jongeren van 15-18 jaar al meevechten met Hamas, of taken voor ze verrichten als op de uitkijk staan (dit wordt soms zelfs door echte kinderen gedaan).
Het is overigens opvallend dat Israel niet op een veel lager dodental uitkomt: 1370 doden, waarvan 1249 zijn geidentificeerd.

IDF: 600 Hamas men, 309 civilians died in Gaza offensive 
By Amos Harel
More than 600 of the Palestinians killed during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza have been identified as militants, while another 309 were innocent civilians, according to an updated list of Palestinian losses issued by the Israel Defense Forces.
The list, prepared by the IDF's Coordination and Liaison Authority for the Gaza Strip, is significantly different from the one the Palestinians use.
The Israeli document lists 1,370 fatalities, whereas different Palestinian lists range from 1,324 to 1,434. The IDF claims to have identified 1,249 of those on its list.

According to the IDF, more than 600 of the dead have been identified as members of a militant organization. This includes the police officers who were killed in an attack on their academy's graduation parade on December 27, the first day of the operation.
A total of 309 are described as "uninvolved," meaning they have been confirmed as innocent civilians. Another 320 are described as "unaffiliated," which means the IDF has not yet determined whether they have any affiliation with a militant group. Finally, 14 fatalities were members of Fatah whom Hamas executed during the fighting.
Of the 309 innocent civilians killed, 189 were children under the age of 15. Palestinians describe anyone under 18 as a child.
This group also includes 91 women, 21 elderly men who were not involved in the fighting, six UNRWA workers and two medical workers.
Efforts to identify the remaining dead are continuing.
The fatality list presented by the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has numerous inaccuracies and contradictions, the IDF says. For example, Tawfiq Ja'abari, the commander of the Hamas police, and Mohammed Shakshak, a personal assistant to the head of Hamas' military wing, Ahmed Ja'abari, are both described as dead children on the Palestinian list.

Human Rights Watch rapport over Gaza Oorlog niet op feiten gebaseerd

Organisaties als Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International en Betselem worden door de media vaak beschouwd als objectief maar zijn dat absoluut niet. Zij baseren hun rapporten vaak voor een groot deel op Palestijnse ooggetuigenverslagen, die verder niet te verifieren zijn, en negeren informatie en bewijzen die het Israelische leger naar voren brengt, bijvoorbeeld wat betreft het gebruik van burgers door Hamas als menselijk schild. Het is jammer, en tekenend, dat de kritiek op deze rapporten van NGO Monitor en Camera nooit de media haalt.

Release date: March 25, 2009

HRW's Gaza Campaign: Advocacy not Accuracy

(Jerusalem) - Jerusalem-based research organization NGO Monitor today rejected Human Rights Watch's latest report on the Gaza conflict, "Rain of Fire: Israel's Unlawful Use of White Phosphorous in Gaza," as inaccurate and distorted, revealing a readiness to manipulate "evidence" to match pre-determined ideological conclusions.

HRW's record exhibits a strong anti-Israel bias. Its reporting in 2008 reflected the portrayal of Israel as the second worst abuser of human rights in the Middle East. Even before the renewal of the military conflict on December 27, 2008, HRW focused disproportionately on Gaza: 18 out of 27 HRW statements in 2008 dealing with Israel addressed Gaza, accusing Israel of "collective punishment," "continued occupation," and contributing to a "humanitarian crisis" - charges that are inconsistent with international law and lack supporting evidence.

HRW also has a history of inaccurate reporting.  During the Second Lebanon War (2006), HRW promoted the myth of a Qana massacre, inflating the death toll to 54, although officials knew at the time that the Red Cross was only reporting 28 casualties. HRW eventually retracted its false report.
Similarly, HRW's major report on the conflict, "Fatal Strikes" (August 2006), claimed the NGO "found no cases in which Hezbollah deliberately used civilians" - i.e., operated from civilian areas - despite a wealth of documentary and video proof of the extensive Hezbollah activity in many of the specific villages where HRW claimed it was absent. Nine out of 21 cases described in "Fatal Strikes" were contradicted by later HRW reports - a remarkable inaccuracy rate of 43% - even before independent analysis of the evidence.

The latest report on the use of white phosphorus continues HRW's pattern, including:

  a.. Complete omission of the context of the broader conflict, including Hamas' deliberate exploitation of civilian areas to launch attacks. For example, HRW claims that there was no Hamas activity around the Al-Quds Hospital in Tel al-Hawa, yet, a Gazan ambulance driver reported that Hamas operatives "made several attempts to hijack the Al-Qud's Hospital's fleet of ambulances." In another instance, HRW alleges there was "no indication" of "Palestinian armed groups" operating in Beit Lahiya; photographic evidence shows Hamas fortifications in the town.
  b.. Reliance on Palestinian eye witnesses whose credibility or links to Hamas cannot be verified: "Palestinian de-miners showed Human Rights Watch an additional 48 shells that they said they had removed from civilian areas, although the precise location where they found these shells is unclear.  It is unlikely that the de-miners collected any of these shells from open areas near the Gaza-Israel armistice line."
  c.. The main claim of "evidence of war crimes" stems from HRW's allegation that the IDF intended to "willfully-that is, deliberately or recklessly" harm civilians (despite a complete absence of evidence regarding IDF motives).
  d..  The authors include Marc Garlasco, who has a significant record of anti-Israel bias in reporting at HRW; Fares Akram, who publicly stated "I am finding it hard to distinguish between what the Israelis call terrorists and the Israeli pilots and tank crews who are invading Gaza;" and Darryl Li, whose inflammatory pseudo-legal arguments published in the pro-Palestinian propaganda journal, MERIP, describes Gaza as a "bantustan, internment camp, animal pen."
  e.. HRW extensively relies on Palestinian NGO Al Mezan, thanking them in the report. Among other claims, Al Mezan lists a child as deceased, who was subsequently interviewed by Garlasco in Gaza.
  f.. The report reflects HRW's inconsistent definition of "human shield."
When reporting on Sri Lanka, HRW condemns the LTTE for "deploy[ing] their forces close to civilians, thus using them as 'human shields.'"  Yet in Gaza, HRW claims that it "found no evidence of Hamas using human shields in the vicinity at the time of the attacks" despite the fact that "In some areas Palestinian fighters appear to have been present."

NGO Monitor's Executive Director, Prof Gerald Steinberg commented on the release of the report, "This is yet another example of HRW's disturbing disregard for the evidence.  Such reports promote the Durban Strategy by removing the context of terrorism and self-defense, and contribute to a political war based on unsubstantiated allegations and using the language of human rights."

---- ENDS-----

NGO Monitor was founded to promote transparency, critical analysis and debate on the political role of human rights organizations.
For more information, see our website at

Noa & Mira: Joods-Arabisch duo uit Israël naar Eurovisie Songfestival

Noa and Mira want to give peace a chance

Een Joods-Arabisch duo gaat Israël vertegenwoordigen op het songfestival in Moskou.
Tussen alle slechte berichten uit het conflictgebied zowaar een symbolisch lichtpuntje...

Noa and Mira Give Peace A Chance

This year's Israelis at Eurovision are Achinoam Nini, also known to her fans simply as Noa, and Mira Awad. That's the two of them on the right. Aren't they cute?
I am a longtime Noa fan. Mira I only heard of recently, when she made a splash in Israel starring in a popular sitcom about an Israeli Arab family. The pair of them are going to Eurovision, where they plan to sing in Hebrew, Arabic and English..and not everyone happy about it.
I grant you, it may seem a little kitschy (Awad suggested 'cynical') to send a Jewish and an Arab singer to represent Israel at Eurovision, but then again, what could better represent Israel? I usually don't do well with cutesy 'peace gestures', but somehow, this duo singing the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out" just seems genuinely hopeful and heartfelt to me, in a way that this kind of thing usually doesn't.

Awad has come under attack by other Arab entertainers, in and out of Israel, who feel that going to Moscow for Eurovision represents a false image of Israel. A petition aimed at the duo states

"The Israeli government is sending the two of you to Moscow as part of its propaganda machine, which is trying to create the appearance of Jewish-Arab 'coexistence' under which it carries out the daily massacre of Palestinian civilians."
Part of the tension about this seems to come from events surrounding a fundraiser for humanitarian aid for Gaza. Noa and Mira were going to perform, but were asked to withdraw, because of a letter Noa published during the last days of Operation Cast Lead, reading in part:

"Today, I know that deep in your hearts you wish for the demise of this beast called Hamas who has terrorized and murdered you, who has turned Gaza into a trash heap of poverty, disease and misery. Who in the name of "Allah" has sacrificed you on the bloody alter of pride and greed.

"I can only wish for you that Israel will do the job we all know needs to be done, and finally rid you of this cancer, this virus, this monster called fanaticism, today, called Hamas. And that these killers will find what little compassion may still exist in their hearts and STOP using you and your children as human shields for their cowardice and crimes."

Noa's website shows a range of causes that she supports, which range from MEMRI to Rabbis for Human Rights--my kind of gal, in other words. I think she and Mira will do Israel proud at Eurovision.



There must be another
Must be another way

עינייך, אחות / Einaich, achot
כל מה שלבי מבקש אומרות / Kol ma shelibi mevakesh omrot
עברנו עד כה / Avarnu ad ko
דרך ארוכה, דרך כה קשה יד ביד / Derech aruka, derech ko kasha yad beyad

והדמעות זולגות, זורמות לשווא / Vehadma'ot zolgot, zormot lashav
כאב ללא שם / Ke'ev lelo shem
אנחנו מחכות / Anachnu mechakot
רק ליום שיבוא אחרי / Rak layom sheyavo achrei

There must be another way
There must be another way

عينيك بتقول / Aynaki bit'ul
راح ييجي يوم وكل الخوف يزول / Rakh yiji yom wu'kul ilkhof yizul
بعينيك إصرار / B'aynaki israr
أنه عنا خيار / Inhu ana khayar
نكمل هالمسار / N'kamel halmasar
مهما طال / Mahma tal

لانه ما في عنوان وحيد للأحزان / Li'anhu ma fi anwan wakhid l'alakhzan
بنادي للمدى / B'nadi lalmada
للسما العنيدة / l'sama al'anida

There must be another way
There must be another way
There must be another
Must be another way

דרך ארוכה נעבור / Derech aruka na'avor
דרך כה קשה / Derech ko kasha
יחד אל האור / Yachad el ha'or
عينيك بتقول / Aynaki bit'ul
كل الخوف يزول / Kul ilkhof yizul

And when I cry, I cry for both of us
My pain has no name
And when I cry, I cry
To the merciless sky and say
There must be another way

והדמעות זולגות, זורמות לשווא / Vehadma'ot zolgot, zormot lashav
כאב ללא שם / Ke'ev lelo shem
אנחנו מחכות / Anachnu mechakot
רק ליום שיבוא אחרי / Rak layom sheyavo achrei

There must be another way
There must be another way
There must be another
Must be another way

English Translation
There Must Be Another Way

There must be another
Must be another way

Your eyes, sister
Say all that my heart desires
So far, we've gone
A long way, a very difficult way, hand in hand

And the tears fall, pour in vain
A pain with no name
We wait
Only for the next day to come

There must be another way
There must be another way

Your eyes say
A day will come and all fear will disappear
In your eyes a determination
That there is a possibility
To carry on the way
As long as it may take

For there is no single address for sorrow
I call out to the plains
To the stubborn heavens

There must be another way
There must be another way
There must be another
Must be another way

We will go a long way
A very difficult way
Together to the light
Your eyes say
All fear will disappear

And when I cry, I cry for both of us
My pain has no name
And when I cry, I cry
To the merciless sky and say
There must be another way

And the tears fall, pour in vain
A pain with no name
We wait
Only for the day to come

There must be another way
There must be another way
There must be another
Must be another way



Bradley Burston: Waarom de wereld media graag Israel haatten

Bradley Burston probeert een evenwichtig antwoord te geven op de vraag waarom de media zo de pik op Israel hebben.
Hoewel hij natuurlijk gelijk heeft dat sommige dingen die Israel doet onnodig wreed en walgelijk zijn, is dat nog geen antwoord op de vraag waarom dergelijke acties juist als ze door Israeli's worden gepleegd zo interessant zijn voor de media.
Het antwoord ligt desondanks gedeeltelijk in Israels eigen gedrag, maar dan niet in de zin als de Israel bashers het doen voorkomen:
"It is also because Israelis hate the very idea of public relations. They live in a country which has been under effective world quarantine for nearly all if its history.They live in a society whose trait of unbridled openness has become something of a learning disability. They speak a language which is light years and thousands of literal years away from television English. They are bathed in a culture which insulates itself and armors itself and has had little reason to believe the world will give it a fair shake.They have a shared, largely unspoken truth which is based, in part, on the world's inability to fathom their behavior. And they believe that no matter what they do, much of the world is likely to condemn them. And in this, at least, they have seldom been proven wrong."

Why does the world media love to hate Israel?
I was just in the States, speaking to members of Ameinu, an organization which, the times notwithstanding, remains outspoken both in its support for peace and its support for Israel.

Among the topics I was asked to address was the portrayal of the Jewish state in the news media. Phrased a little less delicately, the issue amounts to: "Why does the press love to hate Israel?"

The question has taken on an unusual urgency of late, its pivot points Israel's war in Gaza, the debate over engaging a proto-nuclear Iran, the UN's upcoming Durban II World Conference against Racism, Avigdor Lieberman's Arab-baiting campaign for Knesset, and, not least, disclosures in Haaretz, Ma'ariv, and Israeli broadcast media quoting IDF troops describing moral failings during the Gaza offensive.

Allow me to begin with the underlying first question.

Are there journalists who truly dislike Jews, and allow their Jew-hate to color their coverage?

Yes. I've met and, in fact, worked with, a number of them. Some of them, it will come as no surprise to report, are themselves Jewish. But does this explain or account for a significant portion of negative coverage of Israel in the media? It does not. Not at all.

What does?

1. What Israel says, and what Israel does.

A. In all the world, there is no bait more tempting for a reporter than Israel's assertion that its military is the "most moral in the world." This is the socially clueless Goliath wearing a sign reading "Kick Me." It is the one irresistible soft target of sound bites.

B. Anyone who has been in a war, as a participant, reporter, or civilian bystander, knows that any war, every war, spawns war crimes. The question, when examining the Cast Lead operation in Gaza, was whether there was something different, something exceptional and intentional and, especially, a matter of policy and command direction, that either trapped or targeted large numbers of civilians, resulting in a human tragedy far beyond the horrible reality of the very fact of warfare.

Was, in other words, this war different from all other wars? Or was this war the trigger for an outpouring of anti-Israel animus that was, for lack of a better term, disproportionate?

Although the jury is still out pending further independent inquiry, the likely answer to both is: Yes.

C. There is reason to believe that, at least in certain units, massive and, in retrospect, excessive firepower was employed, the apparent result of a miscalculation about how, and where, Hamas fighters were likely to engage in combat. In the main, Hamas, whose men had fought to the death in previous encounters, refrained from engaging the IDF at all.

There remains a need for intensive and impartial investigation to determine the extent and the cause of actions which led directly to the deaths of innocents.

D. The fact that may be most difficult to digest - either for haters of Israel or its most ardently positive supporters - is that Israel's armed forces have always been marked by an extraordinary degree of autonomy, down to the level of the individual grunt.

As a direct result, there were instances of Israeli soldiers who risked their own lives to save those of innocents, and there were Israeli soldiers who were predisposed to take the lives of innocents without just cause.

2. What Palestinians say that Israel does.

There are journalists who accept without reservation or corroboration the accounts of Palestinians regarding the actions of Israeli soldiers. There are television networks, some of them financed by Qatar, whose coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even during studio interviews, is accompanied by unending, obscenely graphic footage of infants and children wounded and killed in the war.

The first rule of covering the Holy Land is also in some ways the only rule:

3. Everyone lies to the press here. Everyone. All the time.

This is similar to, but not the same as:

4. Middle East news, like news in general, is marketing.

We are, all of us, in marketing. We are, all of us, in the business of selling a story. This includes the eyewitness, the victim, the military commander, the Hamas official, the Israeli spokesman, the betrayed, the bereaved, the film crew, the pundit.

Every news outlet has a lens through which it believes the story will best sell to an increasingly news-inured public. Every individual, Israeli or Palestinian, has an axe to grind, and a world full of good reasons to grind it.

5. Sometimes Israel looks bad because it is made to look bad. At other times, however, Israeli actions appear brutal because they, in fact, are.

Much has been made of what may be the least translatable word in the Hebrew language, Hasbara, literally, the act of explaining:

"It is true that the world media, generally speaking, doesn't like Israel very much, and stacks the deck against it, but good hasbara starts with not allowing soldiers to vandalize Palestinian homes and shoot Palestinian women,"
writes Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, a veteran of the IDF, of the disclosures over the past week in Haaretz.

"Public relations isn't a morally relevant category, in any case: The crucial question is, how should a civilized country behave when confronting barbarism? With barbarism? Or with respect for innocent life? Pardon me for saying so, but the Jewish people didn't struggle for national equality, justice and freedom so that some of its sons could behave like Cossacks.

"Please don't get me wrong: I'm not equating the morality of the IDF to that of Hamas. The goal of Hamas is to murder innocent people; the goal of the IDF is to avoid murdering innocent people. But when the IDF fails to achieve its goal, and ends up inflicting needless destruction and suffering, it sullies not only its own name, but the name of the Jewish state. It risks making a just cause - Jewish nationhood - seem unjust, and it ultimately endangers what it is supposed to protect."

6. Israelis, as a people and individually, are execrable at public relations because they abhor and distrust the very concept.

There is a reason why Israelis are so breathtakingly inept at furthering their own cause.

It is not only becuse this war was a frank and literally misguided attempt to redress years of misguidance. Or because the war between the Jews and the Arabs, this war which has raged for more than a hundred years, has robbed both sides of its ability to see the humanity of the other.

It is also because Israelis hate the very idea of public relations. They live in a country which has been under effective world quarantine for nearly all if its history.They live in a society whose trait of unbridled openness has become something of a learning disability. They speak a language which is light years and thousands of literal years away from television English. They are bathed in a culture which insulates itself and armors itself and has had little reason to believe the world will give it a fair shake.They have a shared, largely unspoken truth which is based, in part, on the world's inability to fathom their behavior. And they believe that no matter what they do, much of the world is likely to condemn them. And in this,at least, they have seldom been proven wrong.


Pro-Palestijnse lobby op universiteiten USA

De journalist hieronder is een Israëlische Arabier die o.a. voor NBC en de Jerusalem Post werkt.

Ook bij sommige Nederlandse activisten lijkt de haat voor Israel groter dan de liefde voor de Palestijnen, en over de sympathie voor Hamas onder zich progressief noemende mensen die zeggen voor de mensenrechten op te komen, heb ik mij ook vaker verbaasd. Zo erg als op de Amerikaanse universiteiten is het hier nog niet, maar dat zal wel niet lang meer duren :-(

March 24, 2009 - 6:45 AM | Khaled Abu Toameh
On Campus: The Pro-Palestinians' Real Agenda
During a recent visit to several university campuses in the U.S., I discovered that there is more sympathy for Hamas there than there is in Ramallah.
Listening to some students and professors on these campuses, for a moment I thought I was sitting opposite a Hamas spokesman or a would-be-suicide bomber.
I was told, for instance, that Israel has no right to exist, that Israel's "apartheid system" is worse than the one that existed in South Africa and that Operation Cast Lead was launched only because Hamas was beginning to show signs that it was interested in making peace and not because of the rockets that the Islamic movement was launching at Israeli communities.
I was also told that top Fatah operative Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in prison for masterminding terror attacks against Israeli civilians, was thrown behind bars simply because he was trying to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Furthermore, I was told that all the talk about financial corruption in the Palestinian Authority was "Zionist propaganda" and that Yasser Arafat had done wonderful things for his people, including the establishment of schools, hospitals and universities.
The good news is that these remarks were made only by a minority of people on the campuses who describe themselves as "pro-Palestinian," although the overwhelming majority of them are not Palestinians or even Arabs or Muslims.
The bad news is that these groups of hard-line activists/thugs are trying to intimidate anyone who dares to say something that they don't like to hear.
When the self-designated "pro-Palestinian" lobbyists are unable to challenge the facts presented by a speaker, they resort to verbal abuse.
On one campus, for example, I was condemned as an "idiot" because I said that a majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas in the January 2006 election because they were fed up with financial corruption in the Palestinian Authority.
On another campus, I was dubbed as a "mouthpiece for the Zionists" because I said that Israel has a free media. There was another campus where someone told me that I was a 'liar" because I said that Barghouti was sentenced to five life terms because of his role in terrorism.
And then there was the campus (in Chicago) where I was "greeted" with swastikas that were painted over posters promoting my talk. The perpetrators, of course, never showed up at my event because they would not be able to challenge someone who has been working in the field for nearly 30 years.
What struck me more than anything else was the fact that many of the people I met on the campuses supported Hamas and believed that it had the right to "resist the occupation" even if that meant blowing up children and women on a bus in downtown Jerusalem.
I never imagined that I would need police protection while speaking at a university in the U.S. I have been on many Palestinian campuses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and I cannot recall one case where I felt intimidated or where someone shouted abuse at me.
Ironically, many of the Arabs and Muslims I met on the campuses were much more understanding and even welcomed my "even-handed analysis" of the Israeli-Arab conflict. After all, the views I voiced were not much different than those made by the leaderships both in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. These views include support for the two-state solution and the idea of coexistence between Jews and Arabs in this part of the world.
The so-called pro-Palestinian "junta" on the campuses has nothing to offer other than hatred and de-legitimization of Israel. If these folks really cared about the Palestinians, they would be campaigning for good government and for the promotion of values of democracy and freedom in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Their hatred for Israel and what it stands for has blinded them to a point where they no longer care about the real interests of the Palestinians, namely the need to end the anarchy and lawlessness, and to dismantle all the armed gangs that are responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent Palestinians over the past few years.
The majority of these activists openly admit that they have never visited Israel or the Palestinian territories. They don't know -and don't want to know - that Jews and Arabs here are still doing business together and studying together and meeting with each other on a daily basis because they are destined to live together in this part of the world. They don't want to hear that despite all the problems life continues and that ordinary Arab and Jewish parents who wake up in the morning just want to send their children to school and go to work before returning home safely and happily.
What is happening on the U.S. campuses is not about supporting the Palestinians as much as it is about promoting hatred for the Jewish state. It is not really about ending the "occupation" as much as it is about ending the existence of Israel.
Many of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas officials I talk to in the context of my work as a journalist sound much more pragmatic than most of the anti-Israel, "pro-Palestinian" folks on the campuses.
Over the past 15 years, much has been written and said about the fact that Palestinian school textbooks don't promote peace and coexistence and that the Palestinian media often publishes anti-Israel material.
While this may be true, there is no ignoring the fact that the anti-Israel campaign on U.S. campuses is not less dangerous. What is happening on these campuses is not in the frame of freedom of speech. Instead, it is the freedom to disseminate hatred and violence. As such, we should not be surprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but from university campuses across the U.S.

Netanjahoe gul naar Barak voor deelname aan coalitie

De Arbeidspartij heeft heel wat binnengehaald gezien haar bescheiden 13 zetels, vooral op sociaal-economisch vlak.


Last update - 14:58 24/03/2009 
ANALYSIS / Netanyahu made an offer Barak couldn't refuse
By Mazal Mualem, Haaretz Correspondent

There is no debate over two of the achievements of the Labor-Likud coalition agreement that initialed on Tuesday morning: It was reached after negotiations unprecedented in their brevity - taking less than 24 hours - and it grants Labor a scandalous package of positions for its mere 13 Knesset seats, almost out of generosity. The deal gives the party five cabinet posts, including two of the most senior - Defense Minister and Trade and Industry Minister - and another two deputy ministerial positions.

Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's package of temptation for Labor was so bountiful that it is not clear whether the party will have enough people to man all the positions. Labor chairman Ehud Barak's camp, as of Tuesday morning, consisted of Ministers Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Shalom Simhon, Isaac Herzog and deputy ministers Matan Vilnai and Orit Noked. Vilnai will be upgraded to minister without portfolio and Noked will serve as a deputy minister.

The outstanding achievement of the deal itself is within the social-economic field, and was pushed for by Histadrut Labor Federation leader Ofer Eini. It is a sort of economic rescue plan ? as it will be marketed to the public and the party delegates at Tuesday evening's key central committee meeting.

It includes NIS 100 million for retraining people for different professions, NIS 200 million for funding day and afternoon care for working women's children, investment in factories and a commitment not to cut salaries in the public sector. Furthermore, the deal promises a gradual hike in benefits for pensioners over the coming three years totaling NIS 950 million (this subject actually appeared in a similar deal between Labor and Kadima last year that was never signed), and a series of other agreements. The deal's masterpiece is the creation of a forum that the government, employers and the Histadrut will all attend and will have the status of an advisor to the prime minister.

The question is, would Eini as Histadrut chairman against Netanyahu as prime minister have been able to reach such achievements on his own? This is open for debate. Eini is sure that were it not for Netanyahu's need for the Labor party, many elements of the emergency economic plan gained in the coalition deal would have disappeared.

In light of the achievements made in the social-economic part of the agreement, what is remarkable is the lack of vision and achievement in the diplomatic sphere, the key area traditionally promoted by the Labor party. The clauses are well formulated but lack any substance, to the point that Shas, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu as well - the next government's right-wing - will also be able to live with them in peace and security.

IDF onderzoek spreekt beschuldigingen tegen over misdragingen Gaza Oorlog

Ook elders heb ik gelezen dat van zowel het voorval van de Palestijnse moeder met haar twee dochters die de verkeerde kant op gingen als van de oudere vrouw die doodgeschoten zou zijn eigenlijk hemelaal geen bewijzen zijn, en dit niet uit eerste hand is verteld. Uit onderzoek zou nu blijken dat zij helemaal niet zijn doodgeschoten.
Dat wil niet zeggen dat er geen onnodig geweld is gebruikt, maar het laat wel zien dat de media wel erg snel bovenop een verhaal springen over vermeende Israelische oorlogsmisdaden, en Israel wel erg makkelijk in de beklaagdenbank wordt gezet, zonder dat er nog enig bewijs is. Niet iedereen die wat negatiefs over Israel heeft te vertellen heeft gelijk, ook niet als het Joden of Israeli's betreft.
Maariv in (Hebrew) -

[Complete translation by Israel News

Today, Sunday, the conclusions of the personal investigation conducted by an IDF commander, whose troops fought in Gaza, following testimony of soldiers in his brigade about incidents of killing of Palestinian civilians during Operation Cast Lead. The investigation reveals that in at least two of the incidents mentioned in the testimony, which raised a storm of public controversy, no Palestinian women were killed as had been claimed.

Two central incidents that were brought to light in the testimony, which Danny Zamir, the head of the Rabin pre-military academy presented to Chief of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi, focus on one infantry brigade. Today the brigade's commander will present the findings of his personal investigation about the matter which he undertook in the last few day to Brigadier General Eyal Eisenberg, commander of the Gaza division,, and after approval, he will present his findings to the head of the Southern Command, Major General Yoav Gallant.
Light Finger on the trigger
Regarding the incident in which it was claimed that a sniper fired at a Palestinian woman and her two daughters, the brigade commander's investigation cites the sniper: "I saw the woman and her daughters and I shot warning shots. The section commander came up to the roof and shouted at me, 'Why did you shoot at them.' I explained that I did not shoot at them, but I fired warning shots."
Officers from the brigade suspect that fighters who remained in the lower story of the Palestinian house thought that he hit the the women, and from there the rumor that a sniper killed a mother and her two daughters spread.
Regarding the second incident, in which it was claimed that soldiers went up to the roof to entertain themselves with firing and killed an elderly Palestinian woman, the brigade commander investigation found that there was no such incident.
According to one of the officers, "The number of terrorists killed and the extent of arrests in "Operation Cast Lead" varied from brigade to brigade because the troops fought in different areas, and as part of the tradition there is always competition to show that your brigade is more combat ready. Nonetheless, the official evaluation  has not yet begun and among field commanders there is a fear that troops will bring to light additional incidents that took place during the fighting.
An officer of an elite unit that fought deep in Palestinian territory in Operation Cast Lead told NRG  Maariv, "There was a light trigger finger during operation Cast Lead without a doubt, and non-combatant ("uninvolved") civilians were killed without doubt. But there was no deliberate harm done to innocent civilians. I am fully convinced that there was no soldier who shot for no reason out of a desire for revenge. I don't know of any such cases.

Centraal comité Arbeidspartij stemt in met deelname aan Likoed coalitie

Het goede nieuws is dat de coalitie daarmee wat minder rechts wordt, en er een tegenwicht tegen de anti-Arabische Yisrael Beiteinu partij is. Het slechte nieuws is dat de partij diep verdeeld is, en bijna de helft van de leden zich hier niet in kan vinden. Zij hebben wel een punt: hoeveel kan het kleine Labor bereiken in een regering die wordt gedomineerd door rechtse partijen?

Last update - 20:12 24/03/2009       
Labor votes in favor of joining Likud coalition
By Mazal Mualem, Haaretz Correspondent
The Labor Party Central Committee voted on Tuesday in favor of joining Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition, despite vocal opposition from within the party.
Netanyahu reached the preliminary agreement with Barak early Tuesday. Labor Party activists gathered later in the afternoon to vote on the deal, which calls on the government to pursue peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Labor Chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak drafted the deal with Netanyahu. But half of the party's lawmakers objected to teaming up with Netanyahu because of his long-standing opposition to peace efforts.
680 of the central committee members voted in favor of joining the coalition, while 570 voted against. The voter turnout stood at 78 percent of the committee members.
Ahead of the vote, Barak took the stand and in an impassioned speech said "we are responsible for the Labor Party, but we also have a responsibility to the state of Israel, to peace, to security. We don't have a back-up country, Yitzhak Rabin said that, and it is still true."
"Labor voters want to see us in the government, they want to see us there because we don't have a spare country," Barak added.
Addressing the opposition among some of his fellow party members to his move to join the coalition, and consequent criticism of him and his supporters, the Labor chairman went on to say that "there is no one here that is doing nothing more than holding on to a chair, and there's also no one here who epitomizes nothing but pure ideology - we're all friends. I reject with all my might the unfair and ludicrous attacks against [Labor MK] Shalom Simhon, against [Labor MK] Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and against me? Anyone who thinks that it is wiser to build the Labor Party as a fifth wheel in the opposition and not as a counter-force to the right-wing elements in the government doesn't know what he's talking about."
"I am not afraid of Benjamin Netanyahu. I won't serve as a fig leaf to anyone, and I won't be anyone's dead weight. We will be the counter-force that will prevent the formation of a narrow right-wing government, and ensure the establishment of a real government that will take care of the Israeli people," Barak continued.
The Labor leader rejected claims that he was motivated by selfish interests, saying that his only priority is the welfare of the country. "I am not chasing after any position," he said, "and I've manned almost all the positions, I was prime minister, defense minister, chief of staff, GOC and commander of the elite forces unit Syeret Matkal. I don't need any more positions. Anyone who thinks that I am concerned with personal survival, I urge him to listen to the criticism hurled at us and understand the price one pays when going against the grain, against the trend, toward what is truly right for Israel."
Faction whip Eitan Cabel, one of the vocal opposition to Barak's move, warned that the party was losing its way. "What killed us over the last decade is the fact that we lost faith in our path."
"We have turned into the [far right-wing party] National Union of the secular sector. We always affect change from within, and slowly we are dying," Cabel continued, adding that "those who support the coalition deal with Likud are looking to crush their home."


Na 10 dagen rust weer Qassam raket bij Ashkelon

Zou die rust met de onderhandelingen over een gevangenenruil te maken hebben? Het lijkt me geen toeval, en het lijkt eens temeer te bewijzen dat Hamas controle heeft over de andere gewapende groepen. Of deze raket het begin van nieuwe raketaanvallen is of bedoeld is als een enkel 'waarschuwingsschot' valt te bezien. De onderhandelingen over Shalit zijn een paar dagen geleden afgebroken, maar volgens sommige berichten wordt er achter de schermen nog gepraat en zit het niet zo muurvast als de officiële Israëlische en Hamas reactie suggereren.

Last update - 18:41 24/03/2009       
Qassam rocket hits Ashkelon area after 10 day lull
By Haaretz Service
A Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the Ashkelon area Tuesday afternoon, after ten days of quiet.
No injuries or damage were reported.
The last rockets to explode inside Israel hit the western Negev on March 14. No one was injured in the strike.
The Qassam fire continued this month even though Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, recently condemned the Qassam fire from the Strip, saying that though it has fired thousands of rockets in the past, it was not behind recent attacks, and that the group was actively investigating who was responsible.


dinsdag 24 maart 2009

Het lot van Shalit en de vrij te laten terroristen

Dit geeft de trauma's en dilemma's rond de ontvoering van Gilad Shalit treffend weer:
"I don't know what we should do about Schalit," said one friend, "but I think maybe we should give soldiers cyanide capsules in the future so that we don't get into this situation." She was only half joking. After all, the country was clearly being held hostage along with Schalit, and it isn't clear how we can safely get out of it.

My Word: Blame and shame

Mar. 22, 2009

At a No. 18 bus stop earlier this month I overheard an only-in-Jerusalem conversation. Two elderly men were discussing the best way to get to a certain address. "Get off at the stop where there was the pitzutz," one advised the other.

The bus stop was plastered with announcements of annual memorials of the victims of bus bombings carried out on two consecutive weeks in 1996. I couldn't help myself. "Where wasn't there an explosion?" I asked, thinking of at least six sites on the route where there are plaques commemorating terror attacks.

The men looked at me and laughed. "You're too young to remember," said the senior one. "I'm not talking about the piguim [suicide attacks], I'm talking about the bombing from the old days."

I should just have accepted the compliment. Instead I found myself in a detailed discussion of the history of terror attacks in Jerusalem. This is about as psychologically sound as reading a history of airplane crashes just before you board a Jumbo, but it passed the time until the No. 18 arrived.

Living in Jerusalem is a special experience. Being given directions according to the locations of various terror attacks, however, is one of the experiences we could all happily live without.

It was a sentiment heightened when, as Post political reporter Herb Keinon noted, the government decided to pull the public opinion rug out from under Hamas and release the names of the terrorists it wanted freed in return for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit.

The names of the terrorists didn't mean that much. But the attacks they were responsible for did. I could even put faces to some of the victims - many of them the faces of forever-young dead. On the list was the terrorist responsible for the two 1996 Jerusalem bus attacks in which 44 people died. Also listed were the masterminds of the attacks in which 100 people lost their lives, including the Sbarro restaurant bombing and the attacks on Moment cafe and the Hebrew University cafeteria.

There was the terrorist behind the attacks that killed 82 people, among them 11 victims in Jerusalem's Zion Square in 2001. And the name behind, among other outrages, the 1997 suicide bombing in Mahaneh Yehuda market which killed 18 and the 1997 Ben-Yehuda Street bombing that killed eight. I looked over the list and realized that by nearly every attack I could write: been there, done that. And that is just a partial list for the capital. Others presumably had a similar reaction as they read of the possibly soon-to-be-released terrorists behind bombings in, among other places, Netanya, Tel Aviv and Hadera.

IT WAS PART of the typical Israeli roller-coaster style, in which the Hebrew press spent half of the week pushing Schalit's cause for all it was worth - and it was worth a lot as tabloid tearjerkers inevitably are - and the second half of the week examining whether the media coverage itself was to blame for the one indisputable fact in this tragic saga: Schalit is still not back home.

Blame for his continued incarceration was thrown in all directions. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert blamed Hamas; Hamas blamed Israel. Some blamed politicians, politicians blamed the media, the media blamed themselves. The Left blamed the Right, which focused on the possible future loss of life if all the terrorists that Hamas was demanding were released. The Right accused the Left of being willing to trade anything for the release of one soldier: What would be next? Would Hamas demand all the Negev and Hizbullah the Golan Heights?

"I don't know what we should do about Schalit," said one friend, "but I think maybe we should give soldiers cyanide capsules in the future so that we don't get into this situation." She was only half joking. After all, the country was clearly being held hostage along with Schalit, and it isn't clear how we can safely get out of it.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the tragic affair is the way that the Israeli public wasn't sure whom to believe: Hamas or Olmert. Also jarring is the feeling that the media heightened its coverage not just for the ratings. The perception is that if Schalit is not returned before the end of Olmert's term, he won't make it home at all. Binyamin Netanyahu, according to this line of thought, will not be able to secure Schalit's release.

"We don't want Schalit to turn into a second Ron Arad," explained one supporter after another, referring to the IAF navigator who went missing in Lebanon in 1986.

Actually, Arad is not the first. There are still three soldiers missing from the Battle of Sultan Yakoub in 1982. And when you consider that few Israelis have heard of them and even fewer can name them - Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Tzvi Feldman - you can't blame the Schalit family for doing everything possible to keep Gilad's fate in the media's limelight.

THINGS WERE DIFFERENT in "the old days." It was taken for granted that the state would do everything to get POWs back. And in those days, politicians held photo-op visits to the families after the release of the soldiers, not before. I remember Yitzhak Rabin being photographed greeting a POW I knew as he returned from Syria, raising some controversy in the staunch Likudnik family and community in which he lived. Even then there were charges that the release - or at least the media coverage - was exploited for electoral purposes.

Watching Defense Minister Ehud Barak visiting the Schalits' protest tent outside the Prime Minister's Residence one has to wonder just what government he thinks he's been sitting in. Israeli politicians feel the permanent need to campaign because elections are never that far away. And this does not bode well for the decision-making process.

"We have red lines and we won't cross them," said Olmert, struggling to make some sense out of the last three years in office in which so many lines went red with embarrassment.

The final push itself is damaging - giving out multi-messages of negativity: Olmert struggling to finish his term with some significant achievement; the hint that Netanyahu will not negotiate - as feared by those who stress the "process" above the peace.

Hamas saw not only the media festival centered around the Schalits' protest tent but also an outgoing prime minister who, despite his best intentions, barely deserves the description of "leader" and an incoming premier struggling to put together a coalition while eyeing threats across the border.

It is easy to say what is best for Schalit and much harder to determine what is best for the country. But one thing is certain: turning the fate of a prisoner of war into a political issue is not good for anyone this side of Gaza.