zaterdag 22 december 2007

Buitenlandse hulp voor terrorisme?

Hulporganisaties stelden naar aanleiding van de donorconferentie voor de Palestijnen vorige week, dat het geen zin heeft zoveel geld in de Palestijnse economie te pompen zolang je de oorzaak van de problemen, namelijk de vele beperkingen en grensafsluitingen door Israël, niet wegneemt.
Hieronder een andere theorie: al dat geld leidt niet tot meer matiging, maar juist tot meer aanslagen en geweld. Dit is geen gelul in de ruimte van gefrustreerde ZioNeocons, maar wordt ondersteund door empirische gegevens.
The Palestinian record fits a broader pattern, as noted by Jean-Paul Azam and Alexandra Delacroix in a 2005 article, "Aid and the Delegated Fight Against Terrorism." They found "a pretty robust empirical result showing that the supply of terrorist activity by any country is positively correlated with the amount of foreign aid received by that country" - i.e., the more foreign aid, the more terrorism.
IF THESE studies run exactly counter to the conventional supposition that poverty, unemployment, repression, "occupation," and malaise drive Palestinians to lethal violence, they do confirm my long-standing argument about Palestinian exhilaration being the problem. The better funded Palestinians are, the stronger they become, and the more inspired to take up arms.
Overigens is de theorie dat geld voor de Palestijnen de vrede bevordert ook in Israël gangbaar.
Fund the Palestinians? Bad idea
Daniel Pipes , THE JERUSALEM POST  Dec. 19, 2007
Lavishing funds on Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority to achieve peace has been a mainstay of Western, including Israeli, policy since Hamas seized Gaza in June. But this open spigot has counterproductive results and urgently must be stopped.
Some background: Paul Morro of the Congressional Research Service reports that, in 2006, the European Union and its member states gave $815 million to the Palestinian Authority, while the United States sent it $468 million. When other donors are included, the total receipts come to about $1.5 billion.
The windfall keeps growing. President George W. Bush requested a $410 million supplement in October, beyond a $77 million donation earlier in the year. The State Department justifies this lordly sum on the grounds that it "supports a critical and immediate need to support a new Palestinian Authority (PA) government that both the US and Israel view as a true ally for peace." At a recent hearing, Gary Ackerman, chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, endorsed the supplemental donation.
Not content with spending taxpayer money, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice launched a "U.S.-Palestinian Public Private Partnership" on Dec. 3, involving financial heavyweights such as Sandy Weill and Lester Crown, to fund, as Rice put it, "projects that reach young Palestinians directly, that prepare them for responsibilities of citizenship and leadership can have an enormous, positive impact."
One report suggests the European Union has funneled nearly $2.5 billion to the Palestinians this year.
Looking ahead, Abbas announced a goal to collect pledges of $5.8 billion in aid for a three-year period, 2008-10, at the "Donors' Conference for the Palestinian Authority" attended by over 90 states on Monday in Paris. (Using the best population estimate of 1.35 million Palestinians on the West Bank, this comes to a staggering amount of money: per capita, over $1,400 per year, or about what an Egyptian earns annually.)
Endorsed by the Israeli government, Abbas won pledges for an astonishing $7.4 billion (or over $1,800 per capita per year) at the donors' conference.
WELL, IT'S a bargain if it works, right? A few billion to end a dangerous, century-old conflict - it's actually a steal.
But innovative research by Steven Stotsky, a research analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) finds that an influx of money to the Palestinians has had the opposite effect historically. Relying on World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other official statistics, Stotsky compares two figures since 1999: budgetary support aid provided annually to the Palestinian Authority and the number of Palestinian homicides annually (including both criminal and terrorist activities, and both Israeli and Palestinian victims). Graphed together, the two figures show an uncanny echo: In brief, each $1.25 million or so of budgetary support aid translates into a death within the year. As Stotsky notes, "These statistics do not mean that foreign aid causes violence; but they do raise questions about the effectiveness of using foreign donations to promote moderation and combat terrorism."
The Palestinian record fits a broader pattern, as noted by Jean-Paul Azam and Alexandra Delacroix in a 2005 article, "Aid and the Delegated Fight Against Terrorism." They found "a pretty robust empirical result showing that the supply of terrorist activity by any country is positively correlated with the amount of foreign aid received by that country" - i.e., the more foreign aid, the more terrorism.
IF THESE studies run exactly counter to the conventional supposition that poverty, unemployment, repression, "occupation," and malaise drive Palestinians to lethal violence, they do confirm my long-standing argument about Palestinian exhilaration being the problem. The better funded Palestinians are, the stronger they become, and the more inspired to take up arms.
A topsy-turvy understanding of war economics has prevailed in Israel since the Oslo negotiations began in 1993. Rather than deprive their Palestinian enemies of resources, Israelis have been following Shimon Peres's mystical musings, and especially his 1993 tome, The New Middle East, to empower them economically. As I wrote in 2001, this "is tantamount to sending the enemy resources while fighting is still under way - not a hugely bright idea."
Rather than further funding Palestinian bellicosity, Western states, starting with Israel, should cut off all funds to the Palestinian Authority.
The writer is director of the Middle East Forum. 


Hamasregering moet vallen om vredesproces vooruit brengen

Binnenkort brengt Israël een "strategic assasment" voor 2008, dat - zoals te verwachten - geen erg positieve vooruitzichten biedt.

De Israëlische diplomaat hieronder heeft wellicht gelijk dat zolang Hamas aan de macht is in de Gazastrook, het voor Abbas onmogelijk is om reële concessies te doen, maar een grootschalige invasie in de Gazastrook zal de populariteit van Hamas vergroten en hun imago van 'moedige verzetsstrijders' versterken. Bovendien zal de Veiligheidsraad naar alle waarschijnlijkheid een voortijdig einde maken aan Israëls poging de Hamas uit te schakelen.
Hamas is inmiddels een stuk minder populair dan toen het de verkiezingen won; misschien moet de internationale gemeenschap nieuwe verkiezingen afdwingen, met als reëel argument dat de Palestijnen weer een centrale regering moeten krijgen, die namens hen met Israël kan onderhandelen. Deze verkiezingen dienen open te staan voor alle partijen die niet racistisch zijn en die het geweldsmonopolie van de staat erkennen.
Israeli diplomat: Toppling Hamas needed to forward peace
Herb Keinon , THE JERUSALEM POST - Dec. 20, 2007

A military incursion into Gaza to remove Hamas is needed if there is to be any real diplomatic process with the Palestinians, a senior Israeli diplomatic official said Thursday.
According to the official, speaking prior to the imminent release of the Foreign Ministry's strategic assessment for 2008, as long as Hamas is in control of Gaza, there will be negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, but no real "diplomatic process."
A diplomatic process requires the ability of both sides to compromise, something that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will be unlikely to do as long as Hamas controls Gaza, the official said.
Despite post-Annapolis talk of reaching an agreement with the Palestinians by the end of 2008, the assessment will say that the prospects in the coming year are "bleak."
However, it will also be clear from the document that this is not seen as a static situation, and that a willingness by Israel to show some movement with Syria and to strengthen Abbas by releasing security prisoners and stopping construction in the settlements could positively impact on the overall situation.
The official said a major IDF incursion into Gaza would be "extremely costly," and that the trauma from last year's war in Lebanon was to a large extent preventing this type of operation from being carried out in the Strip now.
The official said both Abbas and Egypt would welcome IDF action, but for obvious reasons would have to condemn it publicly.
Egypt, according to the official, is increasingly viewing Hamas's control of Gaza as a fait accompli, and as a result is hesitant to confront the Islamist organization over arms smuggling.
The assessment in Jerusalem is that Cairo's policy regarding Gaza is increasingly, "If you can't beat them, at least appease them," and that for this reason Egypt is not effectively battling the arms smuggling.
Hamas was currently "testing" Israel, to see how much "it can take," the diplomatic official said.
He also said the IDF's current actions were creating a level of deterrence. When reminded that six Kassam rockets hit Sderot on Thursday morning, despite the army's escalated action, he said that without the actions, that number could have been 20.
The official said there was nothing to signal that Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh might be interested in some kind of truce, adding that Hamas had made it clear that it had no intention of stopping its arms buildup via smuggling from Egypt or stopping terrorist attacks elsewhere.
Regarding the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the official said Jerusalem had not yet made a decision regarding the establishment of working groups, something the Palestinians are pushing.
As to Syria, the official said Damascus had made it clear that it didn't want to talk to Israel unless two conditions were first met: Israel saying it is willing to withdraw from the Golan, to the June 4, 1967, lines; and the US being fully involved in the process.
Since neither of those conditions are likely to be met any time soon, the official said there was little chance of any progress on the Syrian track in 2008.

Israël en Syrië oneens over agenda voor onderhandelingen

Nadat van het voorjaar bekend werd dat vertegenwoordigers uit Israël en Syrië maandenlang in het geheim met elkaar hadden onderhandeld, met medeweten van beide regeringen, hebben ze recentelijk opnieuw de mogelijkheden voor onderhandelingen afgetast, dit keer is het echter niet van direct contact tussen diplomaten uit beide landen gekomen.
"It is a lot simpler and it is possible to achieve an agreement in a short time," one of Olmert's confidants said. "The only problem is that the Syrians are not sending positive signals." 
Met de Palestijnen is het ook mogelijk een overeenkomst in korte tijd te bereiken, als zij 'positievere signalen' uit zouden zenden. Belangrijk verschil is natuurlijk dat teruggave van de Golan minder ingrijpend is dan het opgeven van Judea en Samaria en het verplaatsen van tienduizenden, misschien honderdduizend of meer kolonisten, om van deling van de soevereiniteit over de Oude Stad in Jeruzalem nog maar te zwijgen. Maar in beide gevallen zijn er bepaalde voorwaarden aan de teruggave van land, en ziet het er niet naar uit dat die worden geaccepteerd.

Last update - 07:16 21/12/2007     

Attempt to exchange messages between Israel and Syria fails

By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent 
An attempt to exchange messages between Israel and Syria in recent months has failed. European diplomatic sources said that the reason for the impasse was the inability to reach an agreed-upon agenda for talks between the two countries. But in off-the-record conversations, several sources close to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert say that "the Syrian track still has higher chances of success when compared to the Palestinian track."

In the past few months, Israel approached Syrian President Bashar Assad via a number of friendly states, in an effort to evaluate the possibility of renewing direct contact. The main interlocutor in these exchanges has been Turkey, but Israel also made use of the good services of Germany, which still holds an open line of communications with Damascus.

Following a series of exchanges, the view in Israel is that the seriousness of Syrian intentions is still questionable.

European diplomats updated on some of the exchanges noted that "the bottom line was a negative one."

They pointed out that there was no agreement on an agenda for talks between the two sides, assuming such talks would actually take place.

"The Syrians wanted the talks to revolve only on the Golan [Heights]," the European diplomats said. "But Israel wanted to first talk about other issues that trouble it, such as [Syria's] ties with Iran and the support for Hezbollah and Hamas, and Syria did not agree."

Olmert may be interested in furthering the Annapolis process, but increasingly, senior officials feel that the Syrian track must be given a chance to move forward.

"It is a lot simpler and it is possible to achieve an agreement in a short time," one of Olmert's confidants said. "The only problem is that the Syrians are not sending positive signals."

Another source close to Olmert was more optimistic. "The fact that they [Syria] came to Annapolis and canceled the conference of terrorist groups in Damascus were positive and encouraging signals."

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office said that Olmert "is carrying out an evaluation of the Syrian track and that is still ongoing."

The U.S., however, is strongly opposed to any goodwill gesture toward Damascus.

President George W. Bush told a White House press conference Thursday that his patience with Syrian President Bashar Assad had run out long ago.

"Syria needs to stay out of Lebanon," Bush said when asked whether he would be willing to talk to Assad about stabilizing Lebanon, which is caught up in a political crisis over the election of a new president.

"My patience ran out on President Assad a long time ago," Bush said.

"The reason why is because he houses Hamas, he facilitates Hezbollah, suiciders go from his country into Iraq and he destabilizes Lebanon," the president said.

Earlier this week, during a foreign ministers' meeting at the Paris conference of donor nations for the Palestinian Authority, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attacked Syria for what she said was a missed opportunity at Annapolis.

"Annapolis was a chance we gave Syria and its test were the [presidential] elections in Lebanon. So far, the Syrians have failed completely."

European diplomatic sources said that "Syria is undermining any chance for an accord [in Lebanon] and is pushing Hezbollah and the rest of its allies in Lebanon to raise the bar on their demands."

The same sources said that Assad is interested in giving the impression, whatever the cost may be, "that without him nothing will move in Lebanon," and therefore the assessment is that the crisis there will continue. 

Jodenhaat 'geïnstitutionaliseerd' onder Argentijnse dictatuur

De Latijns-Amerikaanse dictaturen waren berucht om hun martelmethoden, maar volgens onderstaand bericht werden Joden extra wreed behandeld.
Veel Joden arriveerden in de vroege 20ste eeuw in Argentinë, op de vlucht voor eerst de Oosteuropese pogroms en later het nazisme. Ook in Argentinië was antisemitisme helaas niet onbekend, zoals de pogroms in 1919 aantoonden, maar ook in de jaren '50 en '60 voerde een fascistische organisatie campagnes tegen de Joden. Na de Tweede Wereldoorlog hebben veel nazi-kopstukken hun toevlucht gezocht in Argentinië.

Jodenhaat "geïnstitutionaliseerd" onder Argentijnse dictatuur

Marcela Valente
BUENOS AIRES, 26 november 2007 (IPS) - Joden werden tijden de Argentijnse dictatuur (1976-1983) vaker opgepakt en onderworpen aan extra wrede folterpraktijken. Dat is de conclusie van een boek dat joodse verenigingen in Argentinië hebben samengesteld op basis van getuigenissen en juridische dossiers.

De joodse gemeenschap in Argentinië is de grootste van Latijns-Amerika. In de jaren zeventig leefden er tussen 230.000 en 290.000 joden in het land, ongeveer één procent van de totale bevolking.

Uit het rapport van de Koepel van Argentijnse Joodse Verenigingen (DAIA) blijkt dat het aandeel joden onder de slachtoffers van de dictatuur veel hoger ligt, tussen vijf en twaalf procent. Het boek noemt 1.300 slachtoffers van gedwongen verdwijningen, maar gaat ervan uit dat het er in realiteit nog veel meer zijn. De lijst is gebaseerd op een klacht eind jaren negentig voor een Spaanse rechtbank.

Uit de getuigenissen die voor het boek werden verzameld, blijkt verder dat joodse gevangenen extra wreed werden behandeld door de beulen van het regime. "Je kan niet zeggen dat er een specifieke antisemitische jodenvervolging heeft plaatsgevonden, maar de joodse gevangenen zijn wel bijzonder brutaal behandeld" zegt Eduardo Luis Duhalde, secretaris van het Mensenrechtensecretariaat van de Argentijnse overheid.

Mensen die het hebben overleefd, zeggen dat er in de gevangenissen nazisymbolen – swastika's en portretten van Adolf Hitler – aan de muur hingen. Tijdens foltersessies en 's nachts klonken toespraken van Hitler uit de luidsprekers. Net als in de concentratiekampen van de nazi's kregen alle politieke gevangenen in Argentinië een nummer in plaats van hun naam.

Volgens overlever Daniel Fernández werden de joden onderworpen aan een bijzonder wrede marteltechniek. De "rectoscoop" was een buis die werd aangebracht in de anus of de vagina van het slachtoffer. Vervolgens werd een rat in de buis gelaten, die een uitweg zocht door te knagen aan vitale organen. Andere getuigen hebben het over joden die met swastika's werden beschilderd of gedwongen werden op handen en voeten te gaan zitten en te blaffen als een hond.

"Het is duidelijk dat het hier niet gaat om occasionele excessen, maar dat geweld tegen joden een geïnstitutionaliseerde praktijk was in het leger dat toen de macht in handen had", stelt het rapport. Volgens schrijfster Nora Strejilevic verzekerde een van haar ondervragers dat "subversieve activiteiten" de prioriteit kregen, maar ze ook informatie verzamelden om iets te doen aan "het joodse probleem".

"Dit boek is een gebaar van ons naar de families", zegt Marisa Braylán, hoofd van het Centrum voor Sociale Studies van DAIA. De koepel kreeg eerder het verwijt van families van slachtoffers dat ze tijdens de dictatuur een weinig actieve rol had gespeeld. De organisatie werd nochtans in 1935 opgericht om de invloed van het nazisme te counteren. "De families vroegen om hulp, en het huidige bestuur neemt zijn verantwoordelijkheid op door uit te pluizen wat er is gebeurd en toe te geven dat er fouten zijn gemaakt."


Tijdlijn van anti-Joodse maatregelen in Irak

In de jaren na Israëls stichting zijn zo'n 900.000 Joden uit de Arabische wereld gevlucht en verdreven. Ten onrechte wordt vaak beweerd dat zij vrijwillig vertrokken en dat Israël hen daar bewust toe aanspoorde, en volgens sommigen hebben Zionisten in Irak zelfs synagoges opgeblazen om de Joodse gemeenschap tot emigratie naar Israël aan te zetten.
Onderstaande chronologie laat zien dat de discriminatie en het geweld tegen Joden in Irak al ruim voor de stichting van Israël begon, en hoe zij -naar het voorbeeld van de Nazi's - systematisch van de samenleving werden uitgesloten. Bijna alle 150.000 Joden hebben Irak verlaten toen ze de kans daartoe kregen, met achterlating van hun rechten en bezittingen...
Ratna & Wouter

Timeline to disaster for the Jews of Iraq

Misinformation about how and why the Jews of Iraq were forced to leave abounds on the Internet. A favoured myth is that Jews and Arabs lived in harmony until the creation of Israel. Another is that 'the Zionists' set off bombs to scare the Jews into leaving in 1950. This timeline extracted from "The Jews of Iraq: a forgotten case of ethnic cleansing" by Carole Basri clearly shows, however, that persecution and insecurity dogged the Jews as early as the 1930s.

1918,19 and 20: Fearful of local Muslim rule, Jews petition the Civil Commissioner for Baghdad for British citizenship, but are refused it.
1932: Iraq declares minority rights would be protected, but declines to appoint observer to supervise minority guarantees. Some 600 Assyrians massacred in 1933.
1932: German Charge d'affaires, Fritz Grobba, publishes instalments of Mein Kampf in Arabic daily newspaper. Radio Berlin begins Arabic broadcasts.
1934 - 36: 600 Jewish clerks dismissed from government
1934: regulation introduced requiring Jews to deposit £50 to travel abroad.
1935: state secondary schools impose quotas on Jewish students. Hebrew and Jewish history instruction forbidden. Only the Bible can be read without translation.
1936: government-licensed Jewish businesses must have a Muslim partner.
1939: Iraqi public school system begins to follow a Nazi education model.
1936: Three Jews murdered in Baghdad, one in Basra. Bomb thrown into synagogue on Yom Kippur.
1936 - 39: despite the Chief Rabbi officially dissociating himself from Zionism and a condemnation of Zionism signed by 33 Iraqi Jewish leaders, seven murders of Jews and six bombings take place.
1941: In the interregnum following a pro-Nazi coup, 179 Jews are killed and 911 houses looted in the Farhoud pogrom.
1947: Iraqi Foreign minister threatens expulsion of Jews as part of coordinated Arab League plan if Partition of Palestine goes ahead.
1948: state of emergency declared; 310 Jews court-martialed.
1948: Jews receiving letters from Palestine accused of Zionism.
September 1948: Shafik Ades, Iraq's richest Jew, hanged.
May 1948 - Dec 1949: 800 - 1,500 Jews dismissed from public service. Jewish banks lose their foreign exchange trading licences. Restrictions on high school and university students.
Jewish community 'donates' 113,000 dinars to war effort against Israel. Fines collected from Iraqi Jews: $80 million. Travel ban on Jews and on buying and selling property. Retroactive tax on Jews. Property of all Jews who had emigrated since 1933 confiscated. Government ceases to service Jewish areas. Property of Jewish prisoners impounded. Jewish newspapers shut down.
Feb and March 1949: 100 Jews tried for connections to Zionism.
March 1950: Iraqi Parliament Ordinance permits Jewish emigration upon forfeiture of citizenship. Some 120,000 Jews register to leave.
March 1951: Law no. 5 deprives all stateless Iraqi Jews of their property.

Enquete: 64% van inwoners Sderot zou vanwege Qassams vertrekken als ze konden

Het afgelopen jaar zijn er al meer dan 2.000 Qassam raketten op Israël afgevuurd vanuit de Gazastrook, vooral op het stadje Sderot.
De bevolking is duidelijk niet tevreden met wat de regering heeft gedaan om dit tegen te gaan. Met name korte, zogenaamde pin-point operaties tot twee kilometer in de Gazastrook, en luchtaanvallen op de terroristen. Daarnaast zijn de grenzen gesloten voor alle behalve humanitaire goederen.
Eerder zijn ook al grotere operaties uitgevoerd in de Gazastrook, zoals na de ontvoering van Gilad Shalit, en verschillende onofficiële bestanden gesloten met Hamas, dit alles met wisselend en vooral erg beperkt succes.
Veel vertrouwen in de regering heeft men niet meer, en de raketten missen ook hun psychologische effect niet.


Poll: 64% of Sderot residents would leave because of Qassams if could

Telephone poll of a representative sample of adult Israelis residing in communities surrounding the Gaza Strip on 20 December (sample size not indicated)  carried out by Dahaf  for Yediot Ahronot and published on 21 December 2007.

If you could would you leave the community where you live because of the Qassams?
Sderot residents: Leave 64% Remain 35%
Moshav and kibbutz residents: Leave 25% Remain 75%

Has anyone living near you left in the past year?
Yes 57% No 42%

Who will better handle the matter of reinforcement - the Government or Gaydamak?
Government 20% Gaydamak 50%

What grade would you give to the Government for its dealing with the Qassams?
Good 2% Middle 10% Bad 86%

How should Israel respond to Qassam fire?
Conquer Gaza 39% Continue targeted killing 34% Talk with Hamas 14%

Has there been a change in your psychological state or someone in your family because of the Qassams?
Worsened 78% No change 22%

Are you satisfied with the performance of mayor Eli Moyal?
Sderot residents:  Satisfied 24% Unsatisfied 68%

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Enquete onder Saoedi's: meerderheid tegen erkenning Israël onder alle omstandigheden

Ik schreef vandaag op mijn blog dat de meeste Arabieren Israël nog steeds weg willen hebben, iets dat door velen tegenwoordig als een 'oude Zionistische mythe' wordt beschouwd. Volgens onderstaande enquete is een kleine meerderheid van de Saoedi's voor gewapende strijd tegen Israël totdat het is vernietigd, en circa 30% voor erkenning van Israël nadat een Palestijnse staat is gecreëerd.
Er is niet gevraagd hoeveel mensen bereid zijn Israël als Joodse staat te erkennen, en dus het Joodse recht op zelfbeschikking (niet te verwarren met een religieuze staat), en hoeveel mensen erkennen dat niet alle vluchtelingen terug kunnen naar Israël. In dat geval zou het percentage dat voor erkenning is waarschijnlijk nog lager uitvallen.
Saoedi-Arabiërs houden niet van Joden:
Very Favorable 2.1% Somewhat Favorable 3.9%
Somewhat Unfavorable 7.0% Very Unfavorable 81.7%
Refused 4.1% Don't Know 1.1%

Ze houden ook niet van Al Qaida, maar zelfs die worden niet zo laag gewaardeerd als Joden. Hezbollah en Hamas doen het een stuk beter dan Al Qaida. In dezelfde lijn heeft men meer waardering voor Hezbollah leider Nasrallah en zelfs voor Osama Bin Laden dan voor Bush.
De boodschap lijkt duidelijk: Bush en de Joden zijn de grote kwelgeesten van deze wereld. Om deze boodschap wereldwijd uit te dragen, is het belangrijk dat Saoedi-Arabië overal moskeeen en religieuze scholen (mede) financiert: 
Q20e: Please tell me whether you think these priorities are very important, somewhat important, somewhat unimportant, or not at all important for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
Providing financial assistance to mosques and madrassas in foreign countries?
Very Important 60.2%
Somewhat Important 21.1%
Somewhat Unimportant 5.3% Not At All Important 5.2%
Refused 3.1% Don't Know 5.1%
Poll of Saudis
This survey of Saudi Arabia was conducted for Terror Free Tomorrow by D3 Systems of Vienna, Virginia and KA Europe SPRL.
Interviews were conducted by phone from a CATI facility in a nearby country outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The survey was conducted in Arabic, among a random national sample of 1,004 Saudi Arabian nationals aged 18 and older from November 30 to December 5, 2007.

For complete results:

The following are selected results.

Q1: Which of the following sources do you use most often for news and information?
Television 79.2% Radio 4.0% Newspapers 6.0%
Internet 8.3% Mosque 5% Friends and Family 1.1%
Refused 2% Don't Know .7%

Q2a: Do you have access to the Internet At Home?
Yes 58.0% No 41.7% Refused 1% Don't Know 2%

Q5a: I will now read a list of countries. Please tell me your opinion of each country. Is your opinion very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable?

Very Favorable 22.3% Somewhat Favorable 24.6%
Somewhat Unfavorable 17.9% Very Unfavorable 26.1%
Refused 2.3% Don't Know 6.8%

The United States
Very Favorable 19.7% Somewhat Favorable 19.8%
Somewhat Unfavorable 14.4% Very Unfavorable 37.2%
Refused 2.7% Don't Know 6.2%

Q6a: I will read a list of different kinds of people. Please tell me your opinion of each group of people. Is your opinion very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable?

Very Favorable 23.4% Somewhat Favorable 27.9%
Somewhat Unfavorable 15.5% Very Unfavorable 24.0%
Refused 2.5% Don't Know 6.7%

Very Favorable 18.1% Somewhat Favorable 21.9%
Somewhat Unfavorable 16.4% Very Unfavorable 35.7%
Refused 2.8% Don't Know 5.1%

Very Favorable 2.1% Somewhat Favorable 3.9%
Somewhat Unfavorable 7.0% Very Unfavorable 81.7%
Refused 4.1% Don't Know 1.1%

Very Favorable 13.7% Somewhat Favorable 25.5%
Somewhat Unfavorable 14.0% Very Unfavorable 40.3%
Refused 2.5% Don't Know 4.1%

Q7b: Would any of the following improve your opinion of the United States?

US brokering a comprehensive Middle East peace between Israelis and Palestinians
A Great Deal 24.4% Somewhat 27.8%
Not Significantly 10.4% Not At All 26.1%
Refused 5.3% Don't Know 6.0%

Withdrawal of US forces from Iraq
A Great Deal 74.0% Somewhat 11.1%
Not Significantly 3.2% Not At All 4.4%
Refused 3.1% Don't Know 4.1%

US pushing to spread democracy in the Middle East
A Great Deal 16.6% Somewhat 19.6%
Not Significantly 12.5% Not At All 38.2%
Refused 5.9% Don't Know 7.1%

US Military equipment and training for the Saudi Arabian armed forces
A Great Deal 39.2% Somewhat 23.7%
Not Significantly 10.3% Not At All 12.7%
Refused 6.0% Don't Know 8.1%

US increasing visas for Saudi Arabians to come to the US to study or work
A Great Deal 57.1% Somewhat 16.9%
Not Significantly 6.2% Not At All 14.6%
Refused 1.9% Don't Know 3.2%

Q9: Do you favor or oppose the Government of Iran developing nuclear weapons?
Strongly Favor 14.0% Somewhat Favor 12.8%
Somewhat Oppose 23.5% Strongly Oppose 33.6%
Refused 8.6% Don't Know 7.4%

Q10: If all diplomatic means fail to stop the Iranian government from developing nuclear weapons, would you favor the United States and other countries accepting a nuclear-armed Iran, or would you favor the United States and other countries taking military action against Iran to try and prevent the Iranians from having nuclear weapons?
Favor US Accepting A Nuclear Armed Iran 26.6%
Favor US and Other Countries Taking Military Action to Prevent Nuclear Armed Iran 38.1%
Refused 19.9% Don't Know 15.4%

Q11: In your opinion, should the United States increase or decrease its involvement in trying to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?
Strongly Increase Involvement 15.2% Somewhat Increase Involvement 17.9%
Somewhat Decrease Involvement 21.2% Strongly Decrease Involvement 28.0%
Refused 10.2% Don't Know 7.5%

Q12: Please listen as I read the following statements and tell me which is closest to your own opinion?

I would favor a peace treaty recognizing the State of Israel, if an independent Palestinian state is established 29.6%
I oppose any peace treaty recognizing the State of Israel, and I favor all Arabs continuing to fight until there is no State of Israel in the Middle East 51.3%
Refused 13.2% Don't Know 5.9%

Q13c: Do you favor or oppose Saudi citizens fighting in Iraq against US-led coalition forces?
Strongly Favor 25.1% Somewhat Favor 10.6%
Somewhat Oppose 12.7% Strongly Oppose 33.6%
Refused 11.1% Don't Know 6.9%

Q15: Do you favor or oppose Saudi Arabia working with the United States to help resolve the Iraq war?
Strongly Favor 51.1% Somewhat Favor 18.2%
Somewhat Oppose 10.2% Strongly Oppose 8.3%
Refused 7.8% Don't Know 4.5%

Q16 Saudi Arabia developing nuclear energy?
Strongly Favor 54.4% Somewhat Favor 13.1%
Somewhat Oppose 10.5% Strongly Oppose 9.4%
Refused 6.3% Don't Know 6.2%

Q17: Apart from nuclear energy, do you favor or oppose the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia developing nuclear weapons?
Strongly Favor 34.7% Somewhat Favor 17.3%
Somewhat Oppose 12.1% Strongly Oppose 19.1%
Refused 9.3% Don't Know 7.5%

Q18: Do you favor or oppose Saudi Arabia restricting its supply of oil to the United States because of current American policies?
Strongly Favor 18.8% Somewhat Favor 25.6%
Somewhat Oppose 19.0% Strongly Oppose 17.1%
Refused 10.2% Don't Know 9.2%

Q20e: Please tell me whether you think these priorities are very important, somewhat important, somewhat unimportant, or not at all important for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
Providing financial assistance to mosques and madrassas in foreign countries?
Very Important 60.2% Somewhat Important 21.1%
Somewhat Unimportant 5.3% Not At All Important 5.2%
Refused 3.1% Don't Know 5.1%

Q21a: Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about each of the following groups?

Al Qaeda
Very Favorable 3.6% Somewhat Favorable 5.9%
Somewhat Unfavorable 8.0% Very Unfavorable 56.4%
Refused 13.9% Don't Know 12.1%

Very Favorable 18.4% Somewhat Favorable 14.9%
Somewhat Unfavorable 11.7% Very Unfavorable 30.7%
Refused 11.8% Don't Know 12.5%

Very Favorable 18.6% Somewhat Favorable 18.6%
Somewhat Unfavorable 12.6% Very Unfavorable 26.5%
Refused 12.4% Don't Know 11.3%

Q23: Some people think that suicide bombings are justified. Some people think that suicide bombings are not justified. Do you think that suicide bombings are often justified, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?
Often Justified 5.1% Sometimes Justified 7.8%
Rarely Justified 6.5% Never Justified 73.9%
Refused 3.9% Don't Know 2.8%

Q25a: Please tell me if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinion of:

George W. Bush
Very Favorable 3.0% Somewhat Favorable 9.2%
Somewhat Unfavorable 11.2% Very Unfavorable 65.3%
Refused 6.9% Don't Know 4.4%

Hassan Nasrallah
Very Favorable 17.8% Somewhat Favorable 20.8%
Somewhat Unfavorable 12.2% Very Unfavorable 26.5%
Refused 8.5% Don't Know 14.1%

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Very Favorable 12.9% Somewhat Favorable 18.2%
Somewhat Unfavorable 15.0% Very Unfavorable 28.2%
Refused 9.3% Don't Know 16.3%

Osama bin Laden
Very Favorable 7.6% Somewhat Favorable 7.7%
Somewhat Unfavorable 9.5% Very Unfavorable 54.3%
Refused 12.0% Don't Know 8.9%

Q26: Do you favor or oppose Osama bin Laden's fatwa calling on all Muslims to attack the United States and Americans wherever they are?
Strongly Favor 7.3% Somewhat Favor 8.9%
Somewhat Oppose 13.4% Strongly Oppose 52.8%
Refused 11.8% Don't Know 5.8%

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

vrijdag 21 december 2007

Yeshivot scholen zeggen nee tegen Aliyah programma

Niet alleen Arabische inwoners van Israël wenden zich teveel van de samenleving af, ook de orthodoxe gemeenschap (die in tegenstelling tot de Israëlische Arabieren bepaald niet kan klagen over gebrek aan geld voor haar instituten) geeft vaak weinig blijk van loyaal staatsburgerschap.
De yeshivot (religieuze scholen) worden gesubsidiëerd door de overheid, hoewel zij hun studenten slechts opleiden tot het levenslang bestuderen van de religieuze geschriften, waarvoor ze zelfs vrijgesteld zijn van militaire dienstplicht. Veel seculiere Israëli's (de meerderheid) ergeren zich aan deze groeiende groep 'profiteurs', maar die onvrede heeft zich nog niet vertaald in een sterke politieke beweging om deze privileges af te schaffen.
Het is onduidelijk wat de werkelijke reden van de yeshivot is voor het opzeggen van de samenwerking met een Aliyah programma, dat is gericht op het stimuleren van Joodse jongeren in de diaspora om naar Israël te immigreren.
Ratna & Wouter
Last update - 07:22 17/12/2007       

Top yeshivas sever ties with Jewish Agency program MASA
By Daphna Berman, Haaretz Correspondent
Three top yeshivas have decided to sever ties with the Jewish Agency sponsored program, MASA, and several other Orthodox schools are considering following suit, Haaretz has learned.
MASA, which enables Diaspora Jewish youth to spend time in Israel within the framework of a wide range of programs, is jointly sponsored by the Jewish Agency and the Prime Minister's Office.
Yeshiva representatives, speaking on condition of anonymity, cite MASA's failure to respect their religious sensitivities in mandatory events, as well as an abundance of paperwork that they said made the partnership no longer tenable.
"While we respect the efforts of your organization toward bringing youth of the Diaspora to Israel, after evaluating the present requirements and grants of the MASA program we feel that we are unable to renew the relationship between MASA and our yeshivot for the 5769 academic year," read the letter addressed to MASA officials, a copy of which was obtained by Haaretz. The signatories on the letter included rabbis and administrators from Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavne, Yeshivat Har Etzion and Yeshivat Sha'alvim.
MASA holds a mega-event for its estimated 9,000 participants, about 35 percent of whom are Orthodox, about once a year. However, yeshiva officials said these events weren't geared toward a religious audience. "We felt they weren't respectful of our needs," an official at one yeshiva said of decision.
The official also cited changes in the way that MASA funds participants as a reason for the decision. All MASA participants from North America now receive a $2,000 scholarship, regardless of financial need, unlike in years past when grants were need-based. The result, yeshiva officials say, is that even needy students aren't receiving the sufficient scholarship funds they would require.
MASA officials, in response, said they never received a letter from the yeshiva heads describing their desire to leave the program. They further denied having overlooked religious participants' sensitivities. "MASA is a pluralistic project that respectfully treats the broad array of opinions and movements within Judaism. These are the measures we employ toward the Orthodox public: in every MASA event, we make sure to allocate special spots in the designated hall to separate between men and women. In every MASA event, mehadrin food is ordered specially."
A MASA spokesperson also said that changes to the scholarship program nevertheless ensure that "every participant can get a scholarship that will cover most of his/her costs, just like in the past."

Overgenomen van Israel News: Yeshivot say no to Zionist program

Hooggerechtshof bevriest benoeming van Grieks-Orthodoxe patriarch Theophilus III

Al is Oost-Jeruzalem door Israël geannexeerd, er zijn nog heel wat partijen buiten de Joodse staat die er wat in de melk te brokkelen hebben. Naast onder meer de islamitische Waqf die de Tempelberg bestuurt, heeft ook elke zichzelf respecterende christelijke stroming wel stukjes van de belangrijkste kerken (zoals de Grafkerk) in handen. Bovendien bezitten ze nog heel wat onroerend goed in en om de Oude Stad. Zelfs de grond waarop de Knesset is gebouwd is eigendom van de Grieks-Orthodoxe Kerk!
We hopen maar dat de Israëlische regering een waterdichte pachtovereenkomst heeft. Stel je voor dat de kerk die grond aan de Hamas zou kunnen verkopen en de Hamas dan het contract ontbindt en de Knesset laat slopen...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 The Jerusalem Post

In a new legal twist, the High Court of Justice on Wednesday froze Israeli recognition of Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, reopening a bitter international dispute that has roiled the church.

The decision by the country's highest court to issue a temporary injunction in the case came just three days after the government approved the patriarch's appointment, two years after he was first appointed to the post.

The court order was handed down after Theophilos's predecessor, Irineos I, who has been fighting his own dismissal, appealed against the Israeli government move. The court is expected to rule on the issue next week.

The dispute over who heads the Greek Orthodox Church in the Holy Land is especially significant because of the church's extensive property holdings in Jerusalem and throughout the country. Those holdings include the land on which the Knesset and the prime minister's residence are located, as well as an array of historic buildings in Jerusalem's Old City.

Irineos was ousted two years ago amid allegations of leasing church property in the Old City to an Israeli company, in a move that would further strengthen the Jewish presence in the area. Irineos has said that a former aide signed the leases without his knowledge.

The aide, who has fled the country and is wanted by Interpol on an international warrant for allegedly usurping millions of dollars from the Patriarchate's coffers, remains at large, although he is thought to be in South America.

The appointment of the 55-year-old Theophilos, whose election has been approved by the Palestinians and the Jordanians had, until this week, been held up by Israel, which previously backed Irineos.

The Sunday cabinet decision to approve the appointment came nearly two months after a special ministerial committee led by Pensioner Affairs Minister Rafi Eitan recommended such a move.

"The legal situation has not changed, and only the Israeli government has changed its position based on promises that Theophilos made," said Father Irineos, a supporter of Irineos I who served as chairman of the church's finance department (but is not related to the former patriarch).

By church law dating back to the Ottoman rule, any new patriarch must be approved by the three local governments - Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan.

Reports of the east Jerusalem property sale to Jews have aroused the ire of the Palestinians, who make up most of the 100,000-strong Greek Orthodox flock in the Holy Land.

The properties allegedly sold in the controversial land deal include the Imperial and Petra hotels inside the Jaffa Gate of the Old City. The actual deal remains shrouded in mystery almost three years later.

donderdag 20 december 2007

Rooms-Katholieke patriarch Jeruzalem wijst 'Joodse staat' af

Het is echt niet aan de katholieke kerk om de Joden de maat te nemen na meer dan een millennium geïnstitutionaliseerd antisemitisme avant la lettre. De hypocrisie (zie artikel hieronder) druipt er weer van af, en daarmee past de patriarch van Jeruzalem spijtig genoeg wel in een eeuwenoude traditie...
Het Vaticaan (die exclusief roomskatholieke staat) zou er goed aan doen personeel aan te stellen dat de boodschap van een wereldgodsdienst verkondigt ipv. een Palestijns-nationale politieke agenda te vertolken. Als een echte Palestijn weigert Michel Sabbah een verschil te erkennen tussen het Jodendom als religie en het Joodse volk.
Ook dat de Joodse staat een 'exclusief Joodse staat' zou zijn, is een veelgehoorde kwaadwillende leugen, die je - toeval of niet - ook bij de goed-katholieke Dries van Agt en Anja Meulenbelt (of is zij inmiddels moslima geworden?) aantreft.
Een zalig kerstfeest aan allen!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 The Jerusalem Post

Israel's identity as a Jewish state discriminates against non-Jews, the Holy Land's top Roman Catholic clergyman said in a pre-Christmas address on Wednesday.

"If there's a state of one religion, other religions are naturally discriminated against," Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah told reporters at the annual press conference he holds in Jerusalem before the Christian holiday.

In his address, which he read in Arabic and English, Sabbah said Israel should abandon its Jewish character in favor of a "political, normal state for Christians, Muslims and Jews."

"This land cannot be exclusive for anyone," he said.

With his statements Wednesday, Sabbah, a longtime advocate of the Palestinian cause, waded into a debate that has marred the fledgling peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israel has defined itself as the homeland of the Jewish people since it was established in 1948. The Palestinians, however, refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, saying that would mean Palestinian refugees who lost their homes after Israel's creation would not have the right to return.

Israel opposes any return of refugees, for fear they would eventually outnumber the Jewish majority. Israeli leaders recently demanded that Palestinians recognize Israel's Jewish character as part of peace talks that got under way last week, but the Palestinians have rejected the call.

Aryeh Mekel, a spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry, had no immediate comment.

Sabbah, who has been the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem since 1987, is the first Palestinian to hold the post and is frequently critical of Israel.

He also lashed out at Israel for visa restrictions he said were unfair to Christian clergy. "A state in this land open to welcoming to all believers of other religions," he said.

According to the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations, there are an estimated 170,000 Christians in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Meretz - waar is ze goed voor?

"Meretz - what is it good for?", vraagt Shahar Ilan in Haaretz.

De titel klinkt negatiever dan het betoog zelf: de schrijver bepleit dat Meretz zich meer moet bezighouden met oppositie tegen de invloed van de ultra-orthodoxen op tal van terreinen en hun vrijstelling van militaire dienstplicht.
Hoewel de meeste Israëli's seculier zijn (wat overigens niet hetzelfde is als atheistisch), worden zij door geen enkele partij goed vertegenwoordigd, aldus Shahar Ilan. Of dat waar ik kan ik niet beoordelen, maar ik heb me er vaker over verbaasd dat er niet meer oppositie is tegen het te grote stempel dat de religieuzen, met name de ultra-orthodoxen, op politiek en maatschappij drukken. Meer focus hierop zou het steeds kleiner wordende Meretz een hoop extra zetels kunnen opleveren.
Naast sociale zaken onderscheidt het linkse Meretz zich vooral door haar pleidooi voor een Palestijnse staat op de gehele Westelijke Jordaanoever en Gazastrook, en haar vertrouwen in een vredespartner aan Palestijnse kant. Men verloor veel populariteit door na het uitbreken van de tweede intifada Arafat als vredespartner te blijven zien.

Last update - 09:27 18/12/2007

Meretz - what is it good for? 
The secular public seriously lacks proper representation in parliament. It was no accident that the Tal Law was extended for five years with scarcely a murmur. Nor is it any accident that civil marriage has been swept off the Knesset agenda. The religious and right-wing parties even dominate debates on the constitution - some constitutional debates are held by a panel of six or seven religious Knesset members and not a single secular one.

Shinui's disappearance enhances this vacuum, as does Meretz's dwindling to five Knesset seats, and its decision to renounce the secular agenda. Is there a link between the collapse of Meretz and its opting out of the war against religious coercion?

The 15 Knesset seats Shinui won in 2003 proved that a party that pledges to represent the secular public has a huge vote potential. None of these votes made their way to Meretz in 2006, proving what a heavy price this party paid for abandoning the secular flag.

Several other issues over the last few years hardly evoked a response from the secular parties. These include the education minister's decision to allow the ultra-Orthodox yeshivas to drop the core studies program; the ultra-Orthodox parties' vendetta against Amnon De Hartoch, former head of support funding at the Justice Ministry; the ultra-Orthodox pogrom at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute; setting fire to the Alei Shalechet crematorium; the increase in sexually segregated bus lines; and the wave of proselytizing sweeping through high schools.

It's possible that Meretz MKs fell under the same illusion held by many secular people - that for another full decade they could pretend they are living in Europe - if they only ignore the existence of the ultra-Orthodox and the predictions that by 2020 one of four 18-year-old Jews will be a draft-dodging yeshiva student.

This approach is enhanced by the idea that in a multi-cultural society, it is improper to criticize an entire community. Perhaps some Meretz people were even glad to be rid of the secular agenda, which had become synonymous with Yosef Lapid's demagogic style, instead of understanding that they could confront the ultra-Orthodox without calling them parasites.

If Meretz has given up its civil liberal agenda, one may and should ask whether there is any difference between it and the late Sheli Party. Unless Meretz pulls itself together quickly, this may indeed be its fate: to dwindle to Sheli's tiny dimensions.

To his credit, outgoing Meretz chairman Yossi Beilin tried to return to a secular agenda. He attempted to place the ultra-Orthodox fighter against religious coercion, Dr. Tzvia Greenfeld, on the sixth slot of Meretz's Knesset list. Had she been elected, she would have voiced a courageous liberal stand. But Meretz only received five Knesset seats. Beilin then set up the secular lobby, but that too failed to gain momentum.

MK Zahava Gal-On is active in protecting women's rights in the rabbinical courts, but this is just one small part of the struggle against religious coercion.

Meretz's next test will be the place it allocates to religion and state affairs in the approaching primary, and whether they will be an inseparable part of the elected leader's agenda.

In previous election campaigns, Meretz tried (in vain) to appeal to the voters who care about social causes. Now it may try to take up the Greens agenda and again abandon religion and state issues. This would be a fatal mistake, which will not bring it the desired votes.

Politics abhors a vacuum. If Meretz will not stand up for secular voters, then a more radical and aggressive secular party will surely emerge to fill the void. This doubly underscores a pertinent question - if Meretz will not raise the secular banner, just what is it good for?

Abbas akkoord met internationale troepen, maar veroordeelt Israëlische aanval op terroristen

Abbas noemt de Israëlische aanvallen waarbij 11 terroristen van de Islamitische Jihad omkwamen 'een vreselijke misdaad' en veroordeelde deze hard. Zijn eigen Fatah partij heeft in gevechten met Hamas ook vele militanten gedood, al waren dat er minder dan men had gewild, want men verloor de strijd in de Gazastrook.
Waarom mag Israël geen terroristen doden die keer op keer zeggen dat zij alle 'Zionisten' willen doden, en dat kracht bijzetten met een eindeloze regen aan Qassams? Als ze zouden kunnen, zouden zij grote aantallen onschuldige burgers hebben gedood, iets waar ze keer op keer mee dreigen. Dat men de afgelopen tijd geen grote aanslagen heeft gepleegd is niet vanwege een gebrek aan motivatie. Abbas zou blij moeten zijn dat Israël deze vijanden van de vrede, van het vredesproces en van het gematigde Palestijnse leiderschap aanpakt. Voor de duidelijkheid: er zijn bij de Israëlische aanvallen gisteren geen burgers omgekomen of gewond geraakt.
Een internationale macht in de Gazastrook heeft alleen nut als deze niet alleen de raketaanvallen op Israël, maar ook de wapensmokkel en de opbouw van een guerrillaleger door Hamas tegengaat, en de trainingen en geld die Hamasleden in Iran ontvangen. In dat geval zal Hamas uiteraard tegen zijn, en zal een gewapende confrontatie met Hamas onvermijdelijk zijn. Als troepen van de internationale macht dan Hamas-terroristen doden, zal Abbas dat dan ook een 'vreselijke misdaad' noemen?

Abbas agrees to international forces, condemns Israeli airstrikes
Date: 18 / 12 / 2007  Time:  14:30

Paris - Ma'an - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority would agree to the deployment of an international force in the occupied Palestinian territories.

"International forces are absolutely acceptable for us," Abbas said. He was responding to a suggestion by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, made Monday at the Paris donors' meeting, that international forces be brought in to bolster the Palestinian security forces that control parts of the West Bank.

Abbas reaffirmed that a tripartite committee, composed of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israel and the United States, will meet soon to work towards implementing the 2002 US-backed Road Map peace plan.

As for the Gaza Strip, where Hamas, not the Fatah-controlled PA, hold power, Abbas said that more than half the PA's budget still goes to the Strip.

Meanwhile Presidential Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdainah condemned the Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which killed 11 Palestinians Monday night and Tuesday, calling them a "terrible crime."

He added, "This dangerous escalation comes hours after the Paris conference aiming to thwart the outcome of the conference and disregarding the international efforts of 90 countries that attended the summit."

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Bethlehem verwacht tienduizenden toeristen met Kerstmis

Dit klinkt goed, en hopelijk wordt geen misbruik van de situatie gemaakt door extremisten die weinig op hebben met vrede, (Arabische) christenen en Joden. Het journaal zal ongetwijfeld dingen vinden die fout lopen, en Palestijnen aan het woord laten over de muur en ander leed dat is veroorzaakt door Israël.

60,000 tourists expected for Christmas

Israeli and Palestinian authorities are coordinating the arrival of 60,000 Christian tourists to celebrate Christmas in Bethlehem and other holy sites next week.
The Tourism Ministry, together with representatives of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, described at a press conference Tuesday in Jerusalem special preparations being made for Christmas (December 25) and the Muslim holiday of Id al-Adha, which begins Wednesday.
Almost 10,000 permits to stay in Israel for a period of two to four weeks have recently been distributed to both Christian and Muslim residents of the Palestinian territories who plan to visit family members during the holiday season and attend Christmas masses in Nazareth, said Lt.-Col. Camil Whbee, head of the District Coordination Office in Bethlehem Tuesday. This number includes 500 Christians and 400 Muslims from Gaza.

He added that more permits will be given during the next days and that there was no limitation on the number of permits aside from security considerations.

Whbee said that lifting of restrictions includes easing the passage of Arab Israelis, Christian tourists, and foreign and local press into Bethlehem and other sites in the PA with their vehicles during the holiday.

Whbee stressed that all policemen and soldiers posted in the checkpoints were briefed regarding the lifting of restrictions, or will be briefed soon, and will operate accordingly.

"We have been told that the PA police will be present and in charge of the order inside Bethlehem and at the Church of the Nativity. We hope the cooperation will be efficient," said Whbee. "Unfortunately, there are always alerts on terrorist activity, but we hope people will not take advantage of the lift of restrictions in order to execute terror attacks."

Israel Police's preparations to secure the tourist sites during the holiday season will be published in the coming days.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other Israeli and Palestinian senior officials will attend the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem during the holiday.

According to Shaul Tzemach, director-general of the Tourism Ministry, on December 24-25 the Bethlehem checkpoint will operating with reinforced manpower to ease and shorten passage into the city. The Bethlehem checkpoint will be working for 24 hours straight.

Shuttles from the Mar Elias monastery in Jerusalem to the Church of the Nativity in will be leaving every 30 minutes starting from noon December 24 and continuing until noon December 25 for the benefit of visitors.

Representatives of the Tourism Ministry will welcome the arrivals at the monastery with sweets and information booklets in English, Arabic and Hebrew.
Tourism Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch instructed the tourism chambers in Jerusalem and Nazareth to prepare for decoration, cleaning, and manpower reinforcement during the holiday.

A traditional reception will be held on Monday, 5:30-7 p.m., at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth for the heads of churches and mayors of northern towns, at which Aharonovitch will be present as well.

Further assistance and information may be received from the Tourism Ministry hotline: (02) 645-6002.

Terrorist Islamitische Jihad gearresteerd die grote aanslag plande

The terror attack was thwarted when the vehicle was stopped at a Border Police checkpoint near Givat Ada. According to security assessments, the terrorists came from the area of Jenin and infiltrated into the Israeli home front in the Wadi Ara region.
Als de checkpoints er niet waren, dan hadden deze en vele andere verijdelde aanslagen duizenden (en wellicht meer) doden geëist. Het is waar dat onschuldige Palestijnen eronder lijden, maar het is begrijpelijk dat Israël zich op deze manier beschermt. Met alle aandacht voor de Palestijnse problemen als gevolg van de checkpoints wordt dit weleens vergeten.

December 19th, 2007


Terrorist who planned mass terror attack in Israel arrested

This morning, in a joint IDF and ISA operation, Sami salid Rashid Zayud, an Islamic Jihad terrorist who planned the attempted mass terror attack on the Israeli home front in September 2002 was arrested. He was arrested in the village of Silat Al Harithiya, southwest of Jenin. Zayud planned to explode a vehicle carrying 400kg of explosives adjacent to a residential building, in order to kill as many of the residents as possible.

The terror attack was thwarted when the vehicle was stopped at a Border Police checkpoint near Givat Ada. According to security assessments, the terrorists came from the area of Jenin and infiltrated into the Israeli home front in the Wadi Ara region.

During the operation today, IDF forces fired and identified hitting Zayud. He was taken to hospital for medical treatment.

The Islamic Jihad in Northern Samaria, which was responsible for the attempted terrorist attack, coordinates the terror activity in the cities of Jenin and Tulkarm. It has carried out many suicide bombing attacks in the Israeli home front, killing dozens of Israeli civilians and injuring hundreds.

In IDF activity in 2007, 9 terror operatives from the Islamic Jihad in Northern Samaria were killed and 11 arrested.

The IDF and ISA are continuing the ongoing battle with the terror organizations including the Islamic Jihad in order to prevent terror attacks in the Israeli home front. The IDF and ISA will continue to operate against the Islamic Jihad in Northern Samaria to prevent it from recovering and to guarantee the security of the state of Israel.

The main terror attacks carried out by the Islamic Jihad in Northern Samaria in the recent years:
25.02.05 - A suicide bombing at the "Stage" club in Tel Aviv- 5 people killed
12.07.05 - A suicide bombing at the "Hasharon" mall in Netanya- 5 people killed
5.12.05 - An additional bombing at the "Hasharon" mall in Netanya- 5 people killed.
26.10.05 - A suicide bombing at the market in Hadera- 6 people killed.
17.04.06 - A suicide bombing at Neve Sha'anan Street, near the old bus station in Tel Aviv -9 people killed.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Humoristische kijk op Iran

Ebrahim Nabavi, Iranian Satirist:

Soon, a number of issues and problems between Iran and the US will be resolved. Inflation will go down. The price of real estate will drop as much as 20%. The decline in the value of the dollar will result in the reduction of the prices of foreign goods. The ongoing wave of resignations among the members of the cabinet will slow down. Moreover, for the next two weeks, Tehran's air pollution, the number of the arrests of women on the streets, and the number of arrests of students on campuses will all decrease.

In brief, Ahmadinejad is going on a two-week pilgrimage to Mecca.

We wish him a rapid departure and a delayed return.

De Palestijn doden die jou dood wenst (Bradley Burston)

Soms is Bradley Burston iets te optimistisch:
"The longer the lies of martyrdom and What Our Lord the Terrorist Wants go on, the longer the world will be content to live without an independent Palestine in its midst."
Op de donor conferentie eergisteren was daar weinig van te merken, en men had vooral aandacht voor de vele Israëlische obstakels en belemmeringen waardoor de Palestijnse economie zich niet zou kunnen ontwikkelen. De Qassams werden wel even ritueel veroordeeld, maar er werd verder niet gerept over de verheerlijking van geweld tegen Israël, de heldenstatus van de 'martelaren', de ophitsing in de media zoals de Hamas kindershow waarin geregeld wordt opgeroepen alle Zionisten te doden omdat zij vijanden zijn van de islam.
Het lijkt er helaas op dat de wereld best kan leven met een Palestijnse staat zonder dat aan deze leugens en ophitsing een einde is gekomen.   

Killing the Palestinian who wishes you dead 
By Bradley Burston / A Special Place in Hell / Haaretz 18-12-2007

We, the Jews and the Arabs, hold a number of truths to be self-evident, not knowing, or not caring, that they are, in fact, the lies we live by.

One of the lies of the Jews, a lie in which the Jewish right takes particular delight, is the idea that Palestinians, as a people, want to see the Jews dead. The lie serves with devotion and remarkable durability the ulterior political motives of the right, in particular the restoration of the lost Kingdom of Yesha, the return of Jewish dominion to all of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Like all lies which become ironclad tenets of political belief, the lie of the genocidal Palestinian comes with a certain wrapping of truth. There are Palestinians whose life goal is to bring death to the Jew.

On Monday night, Israel's armed forces killed 10 of them.

The IDF, it must be said, killed the Islamic Jihad men without shedding the lives of innocent Gazans. One of the men killed, Majed Harazin, has for years been one of the central commanders in the Jerusalem Brigades, the Jihad's armed wing. He and another Jihad commander killed in the Monday night raids were key figures in Qassam production, targeting, and launch against civilian targets and innocent populations. A third Jihad man killed was the wing's commander in the northern West Bank.

They were war criminals. More to the point, they were soldiers. Soldiers in a war in which they are declared combatants, and in which civilian non-combatants are their declared targets. It was our right to kill them. It was our responsibility.

Just as we condemn, and should, the Israeli attacks in which innocent Palestinians are killed, we have a right to respect and appreciate what it took to prevent the deaths of non-combatants while killing our sworn enemies.

In the interest of candor, let us call the Palestinian Islamic Jihad what it is: the most active terrorist organization now operating in the Holy Land. It is this group which fires most of the Qassams into Israel's southwest. It is this group which has hatched most of the suicide bombings over the past two years, most of which were, thank God - who is their God as well - thwarted by Israeli intelligence and security efforts.

And in the interest of shedding light on the lies by which we live, it would be worth taking a closer look at the Jihad's initial response to the IDF operations.

After the deaths of Harazin, rocket mastermind Karim al-Dahdouh and the others, the Jihad e-mailed reporters, threatening to retaliate with a wave of suicide bombings inside Israel, effectively greatly escalating attacks against Israeli civilians. "The assassination of the general commander will open the door wide to a wave of martyrdom operations," the e-mail read.

In a second announcement, Jihad spokesman Abu Hamza told reporters at a mosque, "The blood of our comrades will be the fuel for the rockets that will bring death and destruction to the Zionists."

That is how it is with lies. You can't have it both ways. You can't call yourselves Soldiers for Palestine, lovers of death, cravers of martyrdom, incinerators and dismantlers of Israel and the Zionist enterprise, and, at the same time, profess outrage and anger that we would have the temerity to kill you.

You're soldiers. Grow up.

But that's how it is with lies. Their strongest appeal is to the two-year-old in all of us, and to the 12-year-old boy in too many of us. The suffering of those on our side is the only suffering in the conflict. The other side has no rights to recognition, nationhood, peoplehood, land.

The irony is that the Palestinian organization which was once the most honest, Hamas, is now trapped within a number of lies of its own. Two days after 200,000 Hamas activists rally in Gaza to chant "We will never recognize Israel," a spokesman on the group is a guest on Israel Army Radio's flagship morning news talk show, telling the host that assassinating Jihad men is not the way to seek a solution in the conflict, and that only negotiations can bring a solution.

On one hand, Israel has done much to cripple the possibility of talks taking place. But there is another hand, and it's a strong one in this tug of war. Hamas supplies the Islamic Jihad with weaponry, including the Qassams that Jihad men fire at Israel.

Moreover, the Jihad takes orders from Iran, which has no interest in the survival of Israel, much less talks with an existing Jewish state in the Holy Land.

Truth be told, there was always a certain overall contradiction in their activities. Year after year, Hamas showed selfless generosity in providing health care, education, and sustenance to children, young families and the elderly of Gaza, while providing self-congratulatory suicide bombers to kill children, young familes and the elderly of Israel.

The longer the lies of martyrdom and What Our Lord the Terrorist Wants go on, the longer the world will be content to live without an independent Palestine in its midst.

The Palestinians must choose what they want to do with their liars. The Palestinians themselves must decide what they want to do with the warlords who want Jews dead more than they want a state. With the babyish young men who want Jews dead more than they want Palestine to be a functioning, contributing part of the world. With the Palestine-as-Columbine gun nuts who want Jews dead more than they want Palestinians to be able to live in peace and well-being. And who will never accept a Palestine which is won on the negotiating table and not in a blood-flooded West Jerusalem street.

The Palestinians have a choice to make. They can be ruled by the mentality of the seventh grader, the kid with a heart full of fresh, unsullied ideals and a head full of hormones. Or they can begin to think about the future like adults.

Thanks to the Jihad and to Hamas, the real martyr is no longer the poor kid who goes to kill himself for a few dinars and a passle of religious lies. At this point, thanks to the Jihad and to Hamas, the real martyr is the cause of Palestine itself.

woensdag 19 december 2007

Palestijnse terroristen relatief jong, hoog opgeleid en met baan

Palestijnse zelfmoordaanslagen zijn wanhoopsdaden, die door een kleine groep extremisten worden gepleegd, zo horen we vaak.
Uit onderstaand onderzoek blijkt dat plegers van aanslagen en activisten van Hamas en Islamitische Jihad überhaupt, gemiddeld een stuk hoger opgeleid zijn dan de Palestijnse bevolking (96% heeft middelbare school en de helft een vervolgopleiding) en dat zij zelden in armoede leven (16% tegenover 31% gemiddeld). Bovendien heeft 94% een baan, tegenover 31% gemiddeld. Verder zijn zij gemiddeld jonger, vaker ongetrouwd en komen vaker uit de stad.

Met andere woorden, zij weten wat zij doen en kiezen hier heel bewust voor.
Hierbij spelen vernederingen door het Israëlische leger en de problemen van andere Palestijnen waarschijnlijk een rol, maar zelf hebben zij relatief goede vooruitzichten. Waarom geven zij dan toch letterlijk hun leven voor 'de goede zaak'? Wat is de rol van religie, wat van het ouderlijk huis, de school, de media, de moskee? Waar kwamen zij voor het eerst in aanraking met radikale ideeën, en wanneer kwamen zij op het idee zelf actief te worden in 'het verzet'? Dienden andere 'martelaren' als voorbeeld?
Waarschijnlijk speelt de heldenstatus van 'martelaren' een grote rol, en vrienden die betrokken raken bij terrorisme.

Evidence about the Link Between Education,Poverty and Terrorism among Palestinianns
Claude Berrebi
Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy / Volume 13, Issue 1 2007 Article 2


This paper investigates the ways in which terrorism is linked to education and poverty using data newly culled from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) documentary sources. The paper presents a statistical analysis of the determinants of participation in terrorist activities by members of the Hamas and PIJ between the late 1980s and May 2002. The resulting evidence suggests that both higher education and standard of living are positively associated with participation in Hamas or PIJ and with becoming a suicide bomber, while being married significantly reduces the probability of participation in terrorist activities.

Table 1 reports the means of selected demographic variables for Palestinian (Hamas and PIJ) terrorists and the Palestinian population of similar age, sex and religion, as were tabulated using the data set culled from the terrorists' biographies as well as the "Labor Force Surveys in Judea, Samaria and Gaza".

Each characteristic's category is followed by a chi-square test of the null hypothesis that the characteristic is independent of terrorist status.

These data reveal several interesting comparisons. First, 31 percent of the Palestinians, compared to only 16 percent of the terrorists, were characterized as poor. Second, out of 208 observations in which information about the terrorist's education was available, 96 percent (200) have at least a high school education and 65 percent (135) have some kind of higher education, compared to 51 percent and 15 percent, respectively, in the Palestinian population of same age, sex and religion.

Third, the Palestinian population contains a larger share of its individuals at prime earning ages (58 percent between 25 and 54 years of age) when compared to the terrorists (only 44 percent in the same age range). Compared to the general population, terrorists tend to be younger: where only 72 percent of the general population is below the age of 34, 93 percent of terrorists fall into this group. The age-distribution differences further accentuate the findings of differences in poverty and education.

Fourth, terrorists tended to be from urban areas (54 percent of the 311 observations where this information was available), whereas only 34 percent of the comparable Palestinian population was living in urban areas. In particular, 47 percent of the terrorists lived in Gaza, compared to only 22 percent of the comparable population.

Fifth, out of 208 terrorists whose biographies indicated marital status, only 45 percent were married, compared to an average of 59 percent in the population of individuals with similar age, sex and religion. Finally, out of 142 observations for which information about labor force status of the terrorists was known, 94 percent held some kind of employment, whereas only 69 percent of the Palestinian population was employed.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

dinsdag 18 december 2007

Mubarak ziet wapens liever in Gaza dan in Cairo

De wapensmokkel van Egypte naar de Gazastrook is niet alleen problematisch voor Israël, maar ook voor de Palestijnse Autoriteit. Volgens 'security officials' van de PA zijn een groot aantal Egyptische soldaten en legerofficieren betrokken bij de smokkel. Ook zou Egypte liever hebben dat de wapens in de Gazastrook belanden dan in de straten van Cairo.


'Mubarak prefers that weapons go to Gaza instead of Cairo'
Alarmed by the apparent rapprochement between Egypt and Hamas, Palestinian Authority security officials in Ramallah on Monday criticized the Egyptian authorities for failing to take "real action" to halt the smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip.
They warned that the weapons were being used by Hamas against both Fatah and Israel.
However, a senior Hamas official in Gaza City said Fatah-affiliated clans and groups were responsible for many of the underground tunnels that are being used to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.
In a bid to defuse tensions between the PA leadership and Cairo, PA President Mahmoud Abbas last week appointed former PA foreign minister Nabil Sha'ath as his "special envoy" to Egypt.
Sha'ath's main mission, PA sources said, will be to persuade the Egyptians not to deal with Hamas unless it relinquished control over the Gaza Strip. In addition, Sha'ath will also urge the Egyptians to step up their efforts to stop the smuggling of weapons to Hamas.
Egypt's recent decision to allow several hundred hajj pilgrims from the Gaza Strip to leave through the closed Rafah border crossing enraged top PA officials in Ramallah, who saw the move as an attempt on the part of Cairo to appease Hamas.
The officials complained that the decision was in sharp contrast with Egypt's declared policy of opposing Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last June.
Despite Egypt's announcement that it had thwarted several attempts to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip, the officials told The Jerusalem Post, about 50 tons of explosives have made their way into the Gaza Strip over the past few months.
The officials expressed deep concern over the involvement of a "large number" of Egyptian soldiers and army officers in the smuggling business.
The belief among some officials in Ramallah is that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would rather see the weapons make their way toward the Gaza Strip instead of ending up on the streets of Cairo.
Egypt's crackdown on local Muslim terrorist cells has forced some of the terrorists to flee to the Gaza Strip, where they have been welcome to use the training camps established on the ruins of some former settlements. The Egyptians now fear that these terrorists will one day return to Egypt to resume their efforts to overthrow the regime.
"The Egyptians already have enough problems, especially with the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida," said one official. "These groups pose a major threat to the regime of President Mubarak."
According to the official, al-Qaida has several "sleeping" terrorist cells in Sinai that are waiting for instructions to launch more attacks on government institutions and figures, as well as popular tourist sites.
"These terrorist groups have tons of explosives that are capable of turning Sinai into hell," he said.
The Muslim Brotherhood, whose members are very active in Cairo and other major cities in Egypt, is also believed to possess large amounts of explosives.
"Both al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood are cooperating with Hamas in the smuggling of weapons and explosives into the Gaza Strip," the security official said. "In addition, some Beduin tribes and Palestinians living in Sinai are also involved. Mubarak should know that the weapons that are being used today against Fatah will be used tomorrow against his own regime."

VS overwegen plan tegen wapensmokkel van Egypte naar Gazastrook

Allerlei ideeën worden geopperd om de wapensmokkel naar de Gazastrook tegen te gaan. Een aantal hiervan heeft Israël zelf al getest voordat het de Gazastrook ontruimde, met matig succes. Volgens sommigen is er dan ook geen technische oplossing voor dit probleem, en wordt het vooral veroorzaakt door Egyptische onwil en gebrekkige inlichtingen.
Van de andere kant begrijp ik niet goed wat er tegen is van Israëls kant om het vredesplan met Egypte aan te passen zodat het meer soldaten langs de grens kan stationeren. Alles wat ook maar enige kans op succes biedt moet worden uitgeprobeerd, want deze situatie zal onherroepelijk tot een escalatie tussen Israël en Hamas leiden, en tot een grootschalige Israëlische invasie in de Gazastrook. Dus waarom niet meer Egyptische soldaten, die speciale uitrusting van de VS ontvangen, en het graven van een diepe gracht alsmede plaatsing van een hek of andere obstakels diep in de grond? Een comité bestaande uit Israëlische, Egyptische en Amerikaanse vertegenwoordigers bereid een en ander voor en bewaakt de voortgang.

U.S. weighs plan to help Egypt block arms smuggling to Gaza
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent Last update - 07:42 17/12/2007

The United States is examining the possibility of helping Egypt build a physical barrier to foil the weapons-smuggling tunnels that run from Sinai to Gaza.

The Americans plan to send a delegation of officers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and engineers from the Department of Defense to Sinai in the near future to conduct an initial feasibility study and discuss the issue with the Egyptians.

The recommendation to send the delegation came from two senior administration officials who visited Israel and Egypt a few weeks ago to investigate Israel's claim that the Egyptians were not doing enough to stop weapons-smuggling into Gaza. The two, Robert Danin of the State Department and Mark Kimmitt of the Defense Department, went to Sinai to examine Egypt's handling of the problem first-hand.

In their report, the two proposed several possible solutions to the problem.
The first was to give the Egyptians sophisticated tunnel-detection and demolition equipment that would aid them in locating and destroying the smuggling channels. The second was to dig a deep canal the entire length of the Gaza-Egypt border, filled with water, thereby making it much harder to tunnel under the line. The third was to create an obstacle along the border comprised of piles driven deep into the earth.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had also proposed the canal idea to the Egyptians about six months ago. Her idea was for a joint venture between Israel, Egypt, the U.S. and the Palestinian Authority.

Prior to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, when Israel controlled the Gaza-Egypt border, the Israel Defense Forces also used various methods to try and shut down the tunnels. One involved building a 10-meter-deep wall along part of the border.

The army also deployed engineering units with specialized equipment along the border to detect and destroy the tunnels; five soldiers from this unit were killed in May 2004 when an antitank missile hit their armored jeep.

The IDF also considered destroying hundreds of houses in the border town of Rafah in order to make room for a canal on the Gazan side of the border, but Israeli legal officials concluded that such widespread house demolitions would be a violation of international law.

The army also considered installing special sensors - "geophones" - that could detect movement in the earth and thereby identify tunnel digging.

Danin and Kimmitt also recommended setting up a trilateral security commission, composed of Israeli, Egyptian and American representatives, that would deal with all the issues related to the Gaza-Egypt border - weapons smuggling, border crossings by terrorists, border control and so forth.
Israel, however, opposes such a commission.

"The Egyptians aren't doing enough against the tunnels, and the responsibility is theirs," explained a government source. "A trilateral commission would create a situation in which Israel was also responsible."

Israeli officials believe that while understanding of the problem caused by weapons smuggling is growing inside the U.S. administration, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her aides support the Egyptian position - which is that Israel must agree to amend the 1978 peace treaty, so as to allow more Egyptian soldiers to be stationed along the border. Egypt wants to double its current force of 750 soldiers, to 1,500, but Israel opposes this.

Egyptian defense sources told Agence France-Presse on Sunday that they had uncovered two weapons-smuggling tunnels that had apparently been used in the past, but did not find any weapons in them. The report said that Egyptian forces are destroying the tunnels, but did not mention any arrests having been made.

On a related issue, Israel lodged a protest with the U.S. last week, over what it termed Egyptian and Saudi aid to Hamas in allowing Palestinian pilgrims to leave Gaza to participate in the hajj to Mecca. Senior Foreign Ministry officials met with one of Rice's deputies, David Welch, and told him that Israel does not understand why the Egyptians enabled the pilgrims to leave, which helped Hamas and weakened PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Livni, who is currently in Paris to attend a conference of donor nations to the PA, is expected to raise this issue in her meeting Monday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.