zaterdag 26 januari 2008

Yad Vashem lanceert Arabische website tegen Holocaust ontkenning

Een goed initiatief en, om eerlijk te zijn, rijkelijk laat.
Het volgende is niet helemaal juist:

Nazi literature is accessible in many Arab cities and some of the media engage in anti-Semitic incitement. However, even Iran last year permitted the broadcast of a television miniseries that told the tale of an Iranian diplomat in Paris who helped Jews escape the Holocaust - and viewers were riveted.

In deze serie werden de Joden slechts naar werkkampen gestuurd, niet naar vernietigingskampen. Bovendien werd de leugen verkondigd dat de Zionisten met de nazi's heulden en dus medeplichtig waren.

The site also includes chapters about Albanian and Turkish Muslims who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II, a film that documents a recent joint visit of Jews and Arabs to the Auschwitz death camp and a 25-minute video address by Prince Hassan of Jordan.

"All the children of Abraham feel a sense of enormous distress at the Holocaust, which afflicted one of the branches of our interlinked family," he said in Arabic.

Allemaal mooi en aardig, maar een deel van het Palestijnse leiderschap en andere Arabische leiders collaboreerden met de nazi's, waren blij met hun oplossing van de 'Judenfrage' en boden nazi's die op de vlucht waren na de oorlog een veilig heenkomen. Helaas is van enige erkenning van deze inktzwarte geschiedenis geen sprake, en Yad Vashem achtte het begrijpelijkerwijze een stap te ver daarop nu in te gaan.


Last update - 19:35 24/01/2008    

Yad Vashem launches Arabic Web site to combat Holocaust denial 
By The Associated Press

The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem on Thursday launched an Arabic version of its Web site, including vivid photos of Nazi atrocities and video of survivor testimony, to combat Holocaust denial in the Arab and Muslim world.

Among those featured on the site is Dina Beitler, a survivor of the Nazi genocide that killed 6 million Jews in World War II. Beitler, who was shot and left for dead in a pit of bodies in 1941, recalls her story on the site, with Arabic subtitles.

"Holocaust denial in various countries exists, and so it is important that people see us, the Holocaust survivors, that they'll listen to our testimonies, and learn the legacy of the Holocaust - also in Arabic," Beitler, 73, said at Yad Vashem on Thursday.

Last year, Yad Vashem presented a similar version of its Web site in Farsi, aimed at Iran, whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called the Holocaust a myth and said Israel should be wiped off the map. He has also hosted a conference that questioned whether the Holocaust took place.

On the Arab street, many are indeed hostile to Israel, but Ahmadinejad's comments stand out as much harsher than those of any mainstream Mideast leaders.

A wide range of sentiments toward the Holocaust exists across the Arab world, from simple ignorance about its details to outright denial, to a more complicated belief - often expressed by many Arabs - that the Holocaust did indeed happen but does not justify what is viewed as Israeli persecution of Palestinians.

Nazi literature is accessible in many Arab cities and some of the media engage in anti-Semitic incitement. However, even Iran last year permitted the broadcast of a television miniseries that told the tale of an Iranian diplomat in Paris who helped Jews escape the Holocaust - and viewers were riveted.

"Still, Holocaust denial is quite common," said Edward Walker, a former ambassador to Israel and Egypt.

"Students often write their Ph.D. theses denying the Holocaust," he said. "Children are taught by elders that the Holocaust was a hoax. It's widespread in big universities in Cairo, so that means it's probably as common in the small ones in the rest of the country as well."

The problem also exists in Israel.

Last March, a poll showed that 28 percent of Israel's Arab citizens did not believe the Holocaust happened, and that among high school and college graduates the figure was even higher - 33 percent.

The poll, conducted by Sami Smooha, a prominent sociologist at the University of Haifa, surveyed 721 Arabs and had a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

Raleb Majadele, Israel's lone Arab Cabinet minister, said the Yad Vashem site was imperative in battling that trend. The Internet is difficult to block with barriers of censorship and hate. "From now on, also Arabic speakers will be able to learn the truth about the Holocaust," he said.

Speaking in Hebrew at the ceremony marking the site's launching, he called the Holocaust a horrific act against the Jewish people, but not just against the Jewish people. "It was against humanity, against all nations, against all religions."

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said Arabic-language Holocaust education was long overdue.

"Providing an easily accessible and comprehensive Web site about the Holocaust in Arabic is crucial," he said. "We want to offer an alternative source of information to moderates in these countries, to provide them with reliable information."

The site also includes chapters about Albanian and Turkish Muslims who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II, a film that documents a recent joint visit of Jews and Arabs to the Auschwitz death camp and a 25-minute video address by Prince Hassan of Jordan.

"All the children of Abraham feel a sense of enormous distress at the Holocaust, which afflicted one of the branches of our interlinked family," he said in Arabic.

In 2007, Yad Vashem said nearly 7 million people, from more than 200 countries, visited its Web site.

Some 56,000 of those came from Muslim countries, including 32,500 from Arabic-speaking countries. Yad Vashem said it hoped the new Arabic site would increase that number drastically and said it had discovered encouraging findings that indicated there was a large demand.

Israël als slang om Palestijns land op Fatah TV

De slang is een oud en bekend thema in antisemitische afbeeldingen.
Op deze manier bereidt het gematigde Palestijnse leiderschap de bevolking voor op vrede en verzoening met Israël? Duidelijk blijkt ook dat de Palestijnen allang niet meer uit zijn op Israëls vernietiging oftewel de 'bevrijding' van het hele land, maar slechts een staat in de Gazastrook en de Westelijke Jordaanoever nastreven. Die verhalen over opruiing in Palestijnse media zijn inderdaad slechts Zionistische propaganda.

Jan 24 2008
Palestinian Media Watch

"My enemy, oh snake! Around the land, you are coiled.
You have no choice, oh enemy, but to leave my country."

[Palestinian TV, January 2008, broadcast daily]
by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

Jew Snake

A hate video broadcast continuously on official (Fatah-controlled) Palestinian TV over the past several months calls Israel "my enemy" and spews out messages of hate and loathing. The song's refrain,
"My enemy, oh enemy," is repeated over and over throughout the song. Israel is not even given the courtesy of a name, but is tagged  with such labels as "treacherous," "imperialism" and a "coiled snake."
The Palestinian is portrayed as a heroic victim who courageously confronts the evil "enemy" Israel:
                          "If you pull out my eyes, my heart will see.

                           If you cut off my hands, my chest is knives and swords."

The enemy, Israel, is denied the right to
                           "This homeland is ours."

Therefore, the song concludes, the Palestinians will ultimately prevail, and Israelis will be expled        "You have no choice, oh enemy
                            but to leave my country."

The goal of this music video clip is to inculcate loathing of Israel and anticipation of its destruction. The repeated broadcast over recent months by Fatah-controlled television is consistent with other Arabic-language hate messages currently being disseminated -- in spite of the peace talks.

PA TV first aired this music video in 2004 and resumed its broadcast in October, 2007. It was broadcast throughout the Annapolis conference as well as during President Bush's visit to Israel. It continues to be aired on almost a daily basis.

The following is the text of the hate video. Click here to view:

"My enemy. Oh, my enemy.
Stop your crimes.
Treaty breaker! Treacherous!...
If you pull out my eyes,
My heart will see. (x2)
If you cut off my hands,
My chest is knives and swords.
My enemy! Oh imperialism!
This homeland is ours. (x2)
This land will be tilled
only by our hoes. (x2)
Whenever the tension rises,
Whenever this land weeps, (x2)
the flower will return
to grow in our house.
My enemy. Oh, my enemy.
Stop your crimes.
Treaty breaker! Treacherous!...
My enemy! Oh snake!
Around the land, you are coiled. (x2)
We, noble, courageous,
on the day of ruin [battle], shall stand.
You have no choice, Oh enemy,
but to leave my country.
And my children will return.

PMW | King George 59 | Jerusalem | Israel

Olmert bevriest alle nieuwbouw in nederzettingen Westelijke Jordaanoever

Het lijkt erop dat er eindelijk een duidelijk besluit is genomen: geen nieuwe huizen in de nederzettingen. Een goed begin. En nu nog de buitenposten ontmantelen.

PM completely freezes new construction in W. Bank settlements
By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent  last update - 18:51 24/01/2008

Israel has completely frozen all new construction in West Bank settlements, despite recent comments by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Israel would treat construction in the major settlement blocs differently from building in most settlements.

Olmert has categorically denied approval for all new construction tenders, including in the so-called consensus settlement blocs, which Israel intends to keep in any future peace accord with the Palestinians.

The freeze also applies to the construction of public institutions, including schools and kindergartens.

Olmert recently sent an official letter to relevant cabinet ministers instructing them to refrain from authorizing any construction in the West Bank without his and Defense Minister Ehud Barak's prior approval.

Several days ago, the prime minister met with Ma'aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel, who asked Olmert to approve several construction plans -including in the controversial E1 corridor linking Ma'aleh Adumim to Jerusalem.

Olmert refused, saying the issue was sensitive in terms of relations with the United States and the Palestinian Authority.

Kashriel also asked Olmert to approve tenders for the completion of the settlement's 07 neighborhood. Barak approved the construction during his term as prime minister, and the new neighborhood was to have a total of 3,500 housing units - 2,000 of which have been built and sold, and another 1,100 of which are currently under construction. Most of the units that are under construction have also been sold.

The Housing Ministry was to issue tenders for the remaining 400 homes, but Kashriel says Olmert refused to approve the request.

Kashriel also asked Olmert to authorize the construction of schools and kindergartens in the 07 neighborhood, but said this request was also denied.

"I told the prime minister that I need another school and more kindergartens, by September, otherwise I'll bring the children to his office and they can study there," said Kashriel.

Mayors and council chairmen in other consensus settlements have also reported a total freeze on construction in recent weeks, including Efrat in the Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem, as well as Ariel in the northern West Bank.

Olmert has in the past defined those settlements as part of the consensus blocs, but is currently refusing to approve the construction of new housing units - including within the settlements' current urban boundaries.

The prime minister has denied authorizations for the construction of schools and kindergartens in these settlements as well.

According to information made public several days ago, Barak had ordered settlement construction frozen beyond the parameters set forward by Olmert. Among other things, the defense minister said his approval is even needed for the private purchase of a home that has already been built.

Barak's order came against the backdrop of a bitter legal battle over settlers' purchase of the disputed "Peace House" in the divided West Bank city of Hebron.

Yesha: No Israeli government has ever been so anti-settlements

Yesha Council of Settlements Chiarman Danny Dayan said no Israeli government has ever taken such a hard-line stance against the settlement enterprise as the Olmert and Barak government.

Dayan confirmed that the freeze has applied to the consensus blocs, which former prime minister Ariel Sharon said the U.S. had recognized.

During an Ariel city council emergency held recently, Mayor Ron Nahman declared "an open war by the town of Ariel and its residents against the government of Israel and its head, Ehud Olmert."

Nahman called Olmert's cabinet a destructive government that has "trampled civil rights in the State of Israel."

Nahman said he will lead protests that will shut down Tel Aviv, if necessary. Some 18,000 people reside within the jurisdiction of the Ariel Regional Council, which formed a headquarters to lead the struggle against the settlement freeze.

A joint forum of all West Bank local authority heads met for the first time several days ago, and also decided to launch a campaign against what they called "the While Paper policy of the Israeli government against its citizens," in reference to the British document that severely limited Jewish immigration to mandate-era Palestine.

Palestijnen krijgen een derde van alle VN vluchtelingensteun

Het tweejarig budget van de UNRWA is ongeveer gelijk aan het jaarbudget van de UNHCR. De UNRWA zorgt exclusief voor circa 1,5 miljoen Palestijnen, vluchtelingen uit de oorlog van 1948 en hun nakomelingen. De UNHCR zorgt jaarlijks voor circa 33 miljoen andere vluchtelingen wereldwijd.

Editor's Note: The following comparisons of UNRWA and UNHCR were taken from their own official websites, and The data are self-explanatory. This was compiled by Israel Zwick, Editor, CN Publications.

UNHCR set to ask donors for over one billion dollars for 2008 budget

UNHCR is present in 116 countries, has 262 offices worldwide with 6,260 staff members – 5,400 of whom are in the field. We work with 624 partners to provide help and assistance to 32.9 million refugees, displaced and stateless people.

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 4 December 2007, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

In Geneva next Tuesday (11 December), at its annual Pledging Conference, UNHCR will present to donor countries its 2008 annual budget of US$1.096 billion, up from $1.06 billion in 2007, to help millions of refugees, displaced and stateless persons around the world.

In addition to its regular budget, UNHCR will also launch a number of supplementary appeals for emergency and special programmes for an estimated total of US $480 million bringing UNHCR's total expected budget in 2008 to over US$ 1.57 billion, compared to US$ 1.45 billion in 2007.

In January 2008, UNHCR expects to launch supplementary appeals for programmes including the Iraq situation; relief operations in Darfur; the Somali situation; repatriation and reintegration of Sudanese and Mauritanian refugees; IDP programmes in Chad, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Colombia.

We hope the response by donors will be generous and swift to enable a smooth continuation during the coming year of our operations to assist and protect people uprooted by conflict and persecution.

The UN refugee agency relies almost entirely on voluntary contributions with only a very small proportion of its budget coming from the UN Regular Budget. So, it's important for us to have early, flexible and predictable funding so we can help the 32.9 million people of concern to us. UNHCR looks to the Pledging Conference to provide a strong funding start for the coming year, ensuring a timely launch of new activities and avoiding interruptions in current activities.

UNHCR's operations in Africa lead the needs with 37.5 percent of the total budget, followed by the Middle East and North Africa 17.5 percent, Asia/Pacific 9.9 percent, Europe 5.9 percent and the Americas 2.8 percent. The remaining percentage is made up of funds required for global programmes, headquarters and reserves.

The largest operations in the 2008 annual budget are: Chad (US$ 73.6 million), Afghanistan (US$ 49.87 million), Kenya (US$ 41.48 million) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (40.92 million).

The 2008 budget has risen by US$53 million – or five percent – from 2007, mainly due to the mainstreaming into the annual budget of the supplementary programme for the repatriation and reintegration of Congolese refugees in the DRC.

The 2008 Global Appeal reflects UNHCR's shift towards a two-year programme and budget cycle (for 2008 – $1.096 billion, and $1.108 billion for 2009) which will allow a more medium term approach to planning and implementation.

Pledges for both years would be appreciated, but we understand that donors frequently have their own restrictions which may only allow them to pledge for 2008.

So far, some 93 percent of last year's UNHCR budget has been funded by donors. Top donors in 2007 have been the USA, Sweden, the European Commission, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Norway.

UNHCR is present in 116 countries, has 262 offices worldwide with 6,260 staff members – 5,400 of whom are in the field. We work with 624 partners to provide help and assistance to 32.9 million refugees, displaced and stateless people.

Link: UNHCR Global Appeal 2008-2009


UNRWA Commissioner-General's Presentation to the Advisory Committee on Administrative & Budgetary Questions (ACABQ)

To meet the Agency's goals, the recurrent activities of UNRWA over the 2008 – 2009 biennium have been budgeted at $1.09 billion. Subject to member states' approval, the Agency has budgeted for an additional 20 international posts in this period. I will elaborate on this last point later in my presentation.

UNRWA's vital humanitarian and human development activities depend on the work of some 28,000 locally-recruited staff, many of whom have spent decades in the service of their fellow Palestinian refugees.

New York, 24 October 2007

Distinguished Chair and Members of the Committee:

Allow me to begin by expressing UNRWA's appreciation for this opportunity to present our programme budget requirements for the biennium 2008 - 2009.

Over the past 59 years, the population of registered refugees in UNRWA's five fields of operation, Jordan, Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, has grown to some 4.5 million, more than five times the number in 1948. The Palestine refugee issue is the most intractable the world has known, and given its intimate link with the geo-politics of the Middle East, is an issue with implications for global peace and security. Many of the refugees have become largely self-sufficient, but the majority continues to depend on UNRWA for essential education, health and relief services. My agency is also active in the construction and maintenance of infrastructure in 58 refugee camps and provides microfinance services to small businesses.

The scale of the task entrusted to us has grown dramatically over the past six decades, and with it, the nature of the challenge of achieving our mission. As the region has developed, refugee needs have inevitably grown more complex and sophisticated, compelling the agency to become more dynamic and more responsive to the demand for programmes of enhanced quality. These changing needs and plans for higher standards of service delivery are reflected in our biennial budgets and our Organizational Development Plan, which covers the three years to the end of 2009.

Amidst changing circumstances and growing needs, UNRWA's humanitarian and human development vision, however, remains constant. It is for every refugee to be able to enjoy the best possible standards of human development consistent with international and regional standards, in consonance with those fundamental rights enshrined in the UN Charter and its Conventions, and in line with the Millennium Development Goals. Irrespective of the waxing and waning of prospects for a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which must include a just and durable solution to the refugee question, it is our obligation as a UN agency charged with upholding the wellbeing of the refugees to aim at achieving these standards for our beneficiaries.

UNRWA's strategic objectives for the coming biennium are thus to support the educational, health, social and economic development of the refugees and to provide targeted relief for the most vulnerable among them, particularly women, children and the disabled. Meeting these objectives requires an increased financial commitment on the part of the international community to improving the well-being of the refugees.

Allow me to outline briefly the main features of the 2008-9 budget.

Features of the 2008 – 2009 biennium budget

To meet the Agency's goals, the recurrent activities of UNRWA over the 2008 – 2009 biennium have been budgeted at $1.09 billion. Subject to member states' approval, the Agency has budgeted for an additional 20 international posts in this period. I will elaborate on this last point later in my presentation.

More at Comparison of UNHCR With UNRWA

vrijdag 25 januari 2008

Duisternis parlementsbijeenkomst in Gaza in scene gezet door Hamas

Eindelijk een artikel dat de Hamas propaganda ontmaskert! De Gazanen hebben het zwaar, maar Hamas speelt graag een makaber machtsspel over hun hoofden, en heeft de overwinning reeds binnen. Een overwinning die niet alleen nadelig is voor Israël, maar ook voor Fatah en het vredesproces.
Jammer dat het NOS Journaal, NRC Handelsblad en tal van mensenrechtenorganisaties zich zo makkelijk voor Hamas' karretje laten spannen.
Voor de duidelijkheid: Israël levert 70% van de stroom aan Gaza, Egypte 15% en de overige 15% wekt men zelf op.
Zie ook op IMO Blog: Hypocrisie in de Gazastrook
Duisternis parlementsbijeenkomst in Gaza in scene gezet door Hamas

De foto's van de met kaarsen verlichte zitting van de regering van Hamas van de parlementsbijeenkomst in Gaza gingen dinsdag de wereld rond. Palestijnse journalisten vertelden gisteren dat Hamas de 'duisternis' in scène heeft gezet. Beide foto's, van de regerings- en de parlementszitting, zijn op klaarlichte dag genomen.

Volgens verschillende bronnen moesten de fotografen zelfs eerst nog even buiten de parlementszaal wachten, zodat de leden de gordijnen konden dichttrekken en hun kaarsjes konden aansteken. Hoewel in beide gevallen de persbureaus de tijden er bij zetten, leverden ze toch onderschriften aan over het in duister gehulde Gaza, nadat Israël de toevoer van brandstof had gestaakt.

De met kaarsen verlichte zitting van de regering van Hamas van de parlementsbijeenkomst in Gaza. | epa

Persbureau AP redde er zich later een beetje uit door bij de foto van de ministerraad in tweede instantie toe te voegen dat de zitting in kaarslicht bedoeld was uit solidariteit met de bevolking. Op de foto van persbureau Reuters van de parlementszitting is gewoon te zien hoe het daglicht nog door een kier in de gordijnen naar binnen schijnt.

Overigens bleef Israël al die tijd ontkennen dat het ook de toevoer van elektra had verminderd, en beschuldigde het Hamas ervan bewust alle stroom te hebben afgesloten. Gisterochtend vroeg een Israëlische radiojournaliste hoe het toch kwam dat Israël die publiciteitsslag had verloren. Een in het nauw gedreven functionaris van buitenlandse zaken legde uit dat hij een filmploeg had georganiseerd om opnamen te maken in de elektriciteitscentrale in Asjkelon die de stroom aan Gaza levert, zodat de wereld kon zien dat de stroom niet was afgesneden. Maar om bureaucratische redenen mocht de ploeg de centrale niet in.

Het blijkt inmiddels ook in Gaza een publiek geheim te zijn geweest dat Hamas al langer voorbereidingen heeft getroffen om de grens met Egypte omver te halen. De Britse krant The Times meldde vanochtend dat een speciale groep al maanden bezig is geweest met snijbranders de metalen afrastering door te snijden. Hierdoor waren niet eens al te veel explosieven nodig om de metershoge muur gisternacht ineen te laten storten. The Times sprak met ene luitenant Aboe Osama van de Palestijnse nationale veiligheidsdienst, die over de actie vertelde: „Ik heb het de afgelopen maanden waargenomen. Het gebeurde overdag, maar werd gecamoufleerd, zodat niemand het kon zien." Op de vraag of de regering ervan op de hoogte was gesteld, antwoordde hij: „Het was de regering zelf die het deed, dus wie moest ik er over rapporteren?"

Aboe Osama, die, aldus The Times, in een kleine wachtpost in niemandsland werkt, voegde er aan toe: „Gisteravond werd ons gezegd bij de muur vandaan te blijven. Omdat ze de blokkade gingen doorbreken."


Opblazen grensmuur Gaza - Egypte al maanden voorbereid

Wat hieronder niet vermeld wordt, is dat Egypte vooraf op de hoogte was van het opblazen van de grensmuur, en de grenswachten instructies had gegeven om niet te schieten en de Gazanen door te laten. De doorgaande wegen richting Cairo waren afgezet en bewaakt.
Dat de Gazanen het zwaar hebben door de Israëlische blokkades van de grenzen is duidelijk, en op zich gun ik hen ook deze 'ontsnapping', maar het doel van de blokkade - het stoppen van de raketaanvallen, voorkomen van wapen- en explosievensmokkel, en het omverwerpen van het Hamasregime - allemaal zaken die een vredesovereenkomst met de Palestijnen in de weg staan - komt hierdoor niet naderbij.
De veelgebruikte term 'humanitaire crisis' in het geval van de Gazastrook lijkt mij overigens bijna even misplaatst als de veelvuldige beschuldigingen van 'etnische zuivering' en de overtreffende trap 'Palestijnse Holocaust'.

Gaza source: Hamas planned border wall blast for months
By Amira Hass, Haaretz Correspondent
Last update - 09:10 24/01/2008

Hamas operatives had been sawing away the foundations of the wall between Egyptian and Palestinian Rafah for a few months to make it easier to blow it up when the time came, a source close to the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in Rafah told Haaretz Wednesday.

A central Hamas operative partially confirmed the report, although he told Haaretz it was PRC operatives who had prepared to breach the wall, while Hamas policemen did not interfere.

In any case, Hamas has for months been discussing the need to take the initiative in ending the siege of Gaza. Apparently, after four days of hermetic closure, following months of siege, the planners believed the political and social conditions were ripe to bring down the iron wall that Israel had put up.

Wednesday around 3 A.M., the people of Rafah were awakened by a series of blasts - between 15 and 20, people said. The hospital in Rafah was put on advance alert to prepare for those who might be injured by Egyptian bullets.
People started heading toward the blast sites, but a source who knew about the plan ahead of time told Haaretz Hamas men prevented them from going over to the Egyptian side before sunrise. At 6 A.M., the first people started to cross over to Egypt, and their numbers steadily increased. The market on the Egyptian side of Rafah opened early in honor of the visitors.

Butheyneh, about 40, said she did not hear the explosions. She found out about the breach around 8 A.M. and at 9 headed with her two sisters-in-law and two of her children toward Egyptian Rafah. "We were hoping to buy a few things we needed, there are a lot of things we need, but mainly we felt like getting out, seeing people, feeling like we were out of jail," she said Wednesday over the phone.

The Egyptians did not allow Palestinian vehicles to cross to their side of Rafah, but they did allow horse and donkey-carts. Egyptian police, who watched those going back and forth without checking anyone, prevented Egyptian drivers from transporting Gazans outside of Rafah, although some drivers managed to do so by side roads, charging high fees about 300 Egyptian pounds, according to Rami, of the Shabura refugee camp. But even if they had been allowed to transport people, there would not have been enough cars.
Thousands of people began walking toward El Arish. Egyptian Rafah began running out of essential products that cannot be found in Gaza and whose prices are very high: cheese, concrete, iron, oil. diesel, cigarettes, foam mattresses, cleaning materials, flour, glass plates, mats, blankets. "The prices will go up in no time," Butheyneh said. She knew that cheese was cheaper in Egypt, but was asked to pay as much for it as Egyptian cheese smuggled through the tunnels from Rafah.

The lack of concrete has made it difficult to bury the dead; the lack of foam mattresses has meant weddings have been postponed.

Although the Egyptians raised the price of cigarettes in a few hours because of the demand, their price in the Gaza Strip plummeted, from as high as NIS 24 to NIS 10 a pack.

Buses and trucks arrived at the breach constantly all day long from all over the Strip. Many families came to satisfy their children's request "to go on a trip to Egypt." Some went to see relatives not seen for some time, children jumped at the chance for a bag of potato chips. The sense of joy at freedom was entwined with great fatigue because of the crowds and the long walk.

Some stayed overnight in Egypt, although most went for a few hours. When they returned, Hamas police checked their belongings, especially people carrying large cartons, looking for drugs and weapons. Butheyneh, who did not buy anything, saw hashish in someone's belongings. He was immediately arrested. Rumor had it that Fatah men had weapons, and they were immediately confiscated.

Hezbollah toont lichaamsdelen van Israëlische soldaten op internet

Denk nooit dat het niet erger, extremer, smakelozer of ranziger kan. Na Nasrallah's speech waarin hij over lichaamsdelen van Israëlische soldaten sprak en een handel daarmee voorstelde, heeft men een en ander visueel toegelicht op een website. Voor het geval mensen het niet zouden begrijpen.

Mensen spreken graag over de asymetrie in het Midden-Oosten conflict, doelend op het machtsverschil tussen het Israëlische leger en haar vijanden, maar vergeten het enorme verschil in normen en waarden - ondanks de mensenrechtenschendingen aan beide kanten. Maar vooral ook is de asymetrie in verontwaardiging over wat beide kanten doen gigantisch: als Israël de lichaamsdelen van gedode Palestijnen of Libanezen op een website zou tonen zou de wereld te klein zijn en onmiddelijk de VN en de Mensenrechtenraad in speciale zitting bijeen komen om dit hard te veroordelen. Amnesty en Human Rights Watch zouden spreken van barbaarse praktijken. VN mensenrechtenrapporteur John Dugard zou zijn verontwaardiging over deze onmenselijke daad van Israël uiten, en tal van 'vredes' organisaties zouden menen het ultieme bewijs in handen te hebben dat Israël net zo erg is als de nazi's.
Maar het is de Hezbollah die dit doet, en dan is het natuurlijk opeens zeer begrijpelijk dat ze zulke onconventionele methoden gebruiken tegen het machtige en wrede Israël, toch? 


Hizbullah presents soldiers' body parts online

Shiite organization launches Hebrew website featuring images of IDF soldiers' body parts, which its leader claims to be holding since Second Lebanon War

by Itamar Eichner - Ynet News
Published: 01.23.08, 09:47,7340,L-3497719,00.html

Hizbullah on Tuesday launched a website in Hebrew featuring images of IDF soldiers' body parts, which the Shiite organization's leader Hassan Nasrallah claims to be holding since the Second Lebanon War.

The website features shocking pictures of body parts and IDF uniform. At the top of the site, Hizbullah wrote in Hebrew, "These images are examples of what we have. They are presented as a verification of the remarks made by Hizbullah secretary-general, Mr. Hassan Nasrallah, on Wednesday, January 2, 2008.

"These body parts belong to 'Israeli' soldiers killed in southern Lebanon during the 'Second Lebanon War'. The presentation of these pictures, despite the humanitarian pain involved, is the consequence of the 'Israel' government's deliberate neglect in terms of revealing the fate of your sons."

Official Israeli sources said Tuesday night that that Hizbullah and its leader had reached a new low of inhumanity. "Israel has no intention of negotiating on body parts," an Israeli official said.

Lebanese websites on Tuesday night began presenting quotes from the Hizbullah horror site.

donderdag 24 januari 2008

Explosieve stoffen gevonden bij Nablus

Als de Palestijnen alle energie, creativiteit en grondstoffen die men nu gebruikt voor het produceren van wapens en het voorbereiden van aanslagen, eens zouden gebruiken om de eigen samenleving en economie op te bouwen, dan zou het wellicht het welvarendste land in het Midden-Oosten (na Israël dan) kunnen worden...

January 23rd, 2008


Dangerous prohibited substances discovered overnight East of Nablus

Now released for publication: In a joint IDF, Civil Administration and ISA activity overnight, forces discovered dangerous prohibited substances in two factories east of Nablus. Among the substances found: 4 containers of Formalin, 2 containers containing over 50% concentration of Acid Sulfate, 24 containers of Acid Sulfate, 4 boxes containing Silver Nitrate, 2 bottles containing over 30% concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide and one liter of Nitrate.

These substances can be used for the production of weaponry and explosives.

These types of operations will continue in order to prevent the transfer of banned substances into the Palestinian Authority. These substances are used as raw materials for the production of explosives used for terror attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

Anne Frank op Boomerang kaart met Palestijnse sjaal

Dat niet alle werken van Boomerang van goede smaak getuigen was al bekend, maar nu zijn ze een lijn overgestapt met een kaart van Anne Frank met Arafat-sjaal.
Behoorlijk ziek!
Voor boze reakties aan Boomerang:
Je kunt ook je ongenoegen kwijt door naar te gaan en op "ongepast werk" te klikken en/of een reaktie te plaatsen.

De reactie van het CIDI op de kaart:

Persbericht 2008 - Den Haag, 22 januari 2008

CIDI: Stop verspreiding geschiedvervalsende Anne Frank kaart
Gratis kaartenverspreider Boomerang bracht onlangs de kaart 'Banned Frank'uit: een gratis kaart waarop Anne Frank gehuld is in Palestijnse kaffiyeh, de bekende rood-wit geruite sjaal. Het CIDI vindt dit stijlloze geschiedvervalsing en roept bioscopen, café's en universiteiten op om de verspreiding van de kaart te staken. Ook nodigen wij Boomerang, gasthoofdredacteur Birgit Schuurman die de kaart selecteerde en de maker van de kaart uit voor een gesprek om aan te geven waarom wij vinden dat deze kaart niet 'kan'.
De kaart toont het symbool van de Holocaust, gewikkeld in het symbool van de Palestijnse strijd. Daarmee stel je de twee aan elkaar gelijk en leg je de link naar joden als de vervolgers van vandaag en Palestijnen als weerloze vervolgden zoals de joden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Terwijl in Israel en de gebieden daaromheen een conflict tussen twee partijen gaande is.
Het kan niet zo zijn, dat om aandacht te vragen voor de zware situatie waarin de Palestijnen zich bevinden, de geschiedenis en de actualiteit uit hun verband worden gerukt. De Palestijnen worden niet vervolgd, er zijn geen vernietigingskampen en er is geen genocide.
Om de vrede in het Midden-Oosten en een levensvatbare Palestijnse staat naast de joodse staat Israel tot stand te brengen, streeft het CIDI naar constructieve bijdragen aan de vrede. Recht doen aan geschiedenis en actualiteit hoort daarbij. Het CIDI roept alle betrokkenen op om de verspreiding van de kaart 'Banned Frank'te staken.

Canada boycot Durban vervolgconferentie racisme in 2009

Hier zou Nederland een voorbeeld aan moeten nemen!
Zie ook:
En teken hier:

January 23, 2008

Gov't official calls anti-racism conference a 'gong show'


OTTAWA - Canada has withdrawn its support for a UN anti-racism conference slated to take place in South Africa next year, the federal government announced Wednesday.
The so-called Durban II conference "has gone completely off the rails" and Canada wants no part of it, said Jason Kenney, secretary of state for multiculturalism and Canadian identity.
"Canada is interested in combating racism, not promoting it," Kenney told The Canadian Press. "We'll attend any conference that is opposed to racism and intolerance, not those that actually promote racism and intolerance.
"Our considered judgment, having participated in the preparatory meetings, was that we were set for a replay of Durban I. And Canada has no intention of lending its good name and resources to such a systematic promotion of hatred and bigotry."
The 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban turned into "a circus of intolerance," Kenney said.
One government official on Wednesday called the conference "a gong show."
Arab and Muslim countries ganged up in their criticisms of Israel. Israel and the United States walked out in protest; the Liberal government of the day remained in an effort to decry the attacks.
With Libya elected to chair the next gathering, Cuba appointed vice-chair and rapporteur, and anti-Israel rhetoric and actions building, Kenney said his government was left with no choice but to abandon the preparatory process for the followup meeting.
B'nai Brith Canada applauded the government, saying Durban I "degenerated into a hate-fest directed at Israel and the Jewish delegates attending the conference."
The group's executive vice-president, Frank Dimant, said Ottawa has acted "clearly and decisively by refusing to participate in a venue that pays lip service to anti-racism but in fact provides a platform for the promotion of hatred and bigotry."
Kenney noted important preparatory meetings have been called on Jewish high holidays, preventing Israeli officials from participating.
The UN gave planning oversight for the conference to its Human Rights Council, which has targeted Israel in 14 of its 15 resolutions charging human-rights violations in its first two years of existence.
"We've tried to influence it so that we would not revisit the overt expressions of hatred which came out of the original conference," said Kenney. "But we unfortunately ran into a brick wall.
"The process has been hijacked by those who would seek to replay the terrible experience of the first Durban conference."
Iran was named to the organizing committee, Kenney noted.
"This is a country whose government has publicly expressed its desire to eliminate the only Jewish country in the world," he said.
Furthermore, all of the non-governmental organizations invited to the first conference have been invited back to the second, including those that were at the "forefront of the hatred," some of which posted pro-Hitler posters at the 2001 gathering.
Concluded Kenney: "If we felt there was any realistic chance that Canada could help to positively influence the process, we would stay involved. . . . By making this bold decision, Canada may send a wake-up call to the Durban organizers and other countries."

woensdag 23 januari 2008

Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza [DryBones]

Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

Dry Bones cartoon: ignoring the bombing of Sderot.
When I sketched out this cartoon I planned to include a line about Sderot having been bombed "for two years" ...or was it three?, I wasn't sure how long it actually has been. So I checked. It turns out that the people in Sderot have been under missile attack for more than seven years!! I couldn't believe it!

Embarrassed at my own ignorance I just used the phrase "non-stop terrorist bombing" in the cartoon.

When we withdrew from Gaza, driving thousands of people from their homes because they were Jews, we assumed that Gazans would get on with building a Palestinian entity on the "liberated" land... and if they attacked us, well then we'd be free to respond.

This morning I saw a clip of a Gazan newscast in which, dramatically, right in the middle of the broadcast, the Palestinian newsroom was plunged into darkness. The fact that the microphone and the TV camera continued to function and that the broadcast was not interrupted led me to believe that the "loss of electricity" was probably implemented by a stagehand with his finger on the light switch.





Saoedische prins: Als Israël Arabisch land opgeeft, worden Israëli's Arabische Joden

This sounds like great news. But wait: please define "Arab land." Jerusalem? Yaffo?
And define the nature of this acceptance:  Is Saudi Arabia going to recognize Israel as the national home of the Jewish people?
We moeten niet alleen 'Arab land' definieren, maar ook 'Arab Jews'. En wat bedoelt hij precies met 'integration into the Arab geographical entity'?
Prince Turki, who was previously head of Saudi intelligence, said that if Israel accepted the Arab League plan and signed a comprehensive peace, "one can imagine the integration of Israel into the Arab geographical entity."
"We will start thinking of Israelis as Arab Jews rather than simply as Israelis," he said, noting that many Arabs historically saw Israel as a European entity imposed on Arab land after World War Two.
Eén van de kernproblemen is om Arabische acceptatie van een niet-Arabische staat in hun midden te verkrijgen, van een land dat Arabische, maar ook Europese, Russische, Ethiopische en vele andere invloeden kent. De Arabieren moeten de Israëli's en hun staat vooral erkennen als wat ze zijn: in meerderheid Joods.
Last update - 13:07 20/01/2008    
Saudi prince: If Israel quits Arab land, it could join Arab world  By Reuters 
A senior Saudi royal has offered Israel a vision of broad cooperation with the Arab world and people-to-people contacts if it signs a peace treaty and withdraws from all occupied Arab territories.
In an interview with Reuters, Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former ambassador to the United States and Britain and adviser to King Abdullah, said Israel and the Arabs could cooperate in many areas including water, agriculture, science and education.
Asked what message he wanted to send to the Israeli public, he said:
"The Arab world, by the Arab peace initiative, has crossed the Rubicon from hostility towards Israel to peace with Israel and has extended the hand of peace to Israel, and we await the Israelis picking up our hand and joining us in what inevitably will be beneficial for Israel and for the Arab world."
The 22-nation Arab League revived at a Riyadh summit last year a Saudi peace plan first adopted in 2002 offering Israel full normalization of relations in return for full withdrawal from occupied Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese land.
Israel shunned the offer then, at the height of a violent Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
But it has expressed more interest since the United States launched a new drive for Israeli-Palestinian peace at Annapolis, Maryland, last November, aiming for an agreement this year.
Prince Turki, who was previously head of Saudi intelligence, said that if Israel accepted the Arab League plan and signed a comprehensive peace, "one can imagine the integration of Israel into the Arab geographical entity."
"One can imagine not just economic, political and diplomatic relations between Arabs and Israelis but also issues of education, scientific research, combating mutual threats to the inhabitants of this vast geographic area," he said.
'Arab Jews'
His comments, on the sidelines of a conference on the Middle East and Europe staged by Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation think-tank, were some of the most far-reaching addressed to Israelis by a senior figure from Saudi Arabia.
The desert kingdom, home to Islam's holiest shrines, has no official relations with Israel, although both are key allies of the United States in the region.
"Exchange visits by people of both Israel and the rest of the Arab countries would take place," Prince Turki said.
"We will start thinking of Israelis as Arab Jews rather than simply as Israelis," he said, noting that many Arabs historically saw Israel as a European entity imposed on Arab land after World War Two.
Prince Turki, brother of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, holds no official position now but heads the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh.
He said Israel could expect some benefits on the way to signing a treaty and making a full withdrawal, noting that after the 1993 Oslo interim accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization, regional cooperation had begun and Israel had achieved representation in several Arab states.
Those Israeli advances were reversed after the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000.
Israel was wary of the Arab League plan partly because it would entail handing back the Golan Heights captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, as well as redivision.
But an Israeli participant at the conference, Yossi Alpher, co-editor of the Bitter Lemons Israeli-Palestinian Web site and a former senior intelligence official, welcomed the comments.
"I was delighted to hear Prince Turki's description of the comprehensive nature of normalization as he envisages it within the framework of the Arab peace initiative," Alpher said.
"His remarks should encourage us Israelis and Arabs to deepen and broaden the discussion of ways to reach a comprehensive peace, implement the Arab peace initiative and reach the kind of cooperation that his highness described."
Alpher said he hoped that once there was a comprehensive peace, Israel's Arab neighbours would accept Israelis "as Jewish people living a sovereign life in our historic homeland" and not as "Arab Jews" or "European Jews"

Britse belastingbetalers financieren Palestijns haatonderwijs

Dit geldt waarschijnlijk evenzeer voor Nederland, dat ook Palestijnse schoolboeken financiert.
Het is jammer dat vooral rechtse organisaties dit soort zaken aankaarten, die sceptisch staan tegenover ontwikkelingshulp als zodanig, terwijl juist de mensen die zich bij de Palestijnen betrokken voelen zich over dergelijke praktijken zorgen zouden moeten maken.
British NGO: UK taxes fund PA hate education
THE JERUSALEM POST - Jan. 19, 2008
British taxpayers are funding hate education and violence in the Middle East, according to a new report published by a British NGO over the weekend.
In the first of a series of papers analyzing the effectiveness of Britain's overseas aid, the Tax Payers Alliance (TPA), which lobbies for lower taxes and better government, has published a report looking at the effects of British aid spending in the Palestinian territories.
"Funding Hate Education" reveals disturbing evidence on the millions of pounds of British tax revenue has been funneled into hate education and promoting violence in the Middle East.
Some of the money is even being used to fund school textbooks that teach children in Palestine to worship violence and hate all non-Muslims.
"With moves towards a peace settlement at Annapolis and an American presidential visit to Israel, there is real hope that a peace deal can be reached," said Matthew Sinclair, author of the report and policy analyst at the TPA. "In order for a deal to stick over the long term, however, it is essential that the Palestinian population fully accepts it. This is why it is particularly concerning that British aid is supporting the radicalization of the Palestinian population, particularly the children."
The report, launched by the TPA with the Conservative Friends of Israel in Parliament on Thursday, shows that part of the £47.5 million of British aid to the Palestinian territories goes towards textbooks that praise insurgents in Iraq and encourage execution of apostates and idealize martyrdom.
The report offers as examples programs on the Palestinian Authority's official TV station. Many aimed at children urge violence against non-Muslims and promote the view that Israel should not exist.
"We want to kill the Jews. Kill them one by one, make their children orphans and their wives widows," exhorted one televised sermon in November 2006.
According to the report, one PA pre-school program, broadcast in 2004, featured the following exchange between a girl and a puppet:
Girl: "If a boy comes in front of your house where a tree is planted and cuts it down, what would you do?" Tarabisho (the puppet): "I'll fight him and make a big riot. I'll bring AK-47s and I'll commit a massacre."
"The future of the peace process in Israel and Palestine depends at least as much on positive attitudes among young Palestinians as it does on success at the negotiating table," Sinclair added. "British taxpayers' money is supporting the radicalization of Palestinian youth and hurting our objectives in the region. This needs to, and can, change."
David Lidington, Shadow Foreign Office Minister, said he was "disturbed" by the report's findings. "It is imperative that future generations... are taught a message of reconciliation and mutual understanding," he said.
Lidington said he had contacted representatives of both the Palestinian Authority and the UN Relief and Works Agency to discuss the issues raised in the TPA report.
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer said it worried him "deeply that British taxpayers' money is being used, quite improperly, for destructive purpose... While aid needs to be directed to the needy, its abuse for terrorist purposes is grotesque."
Hannu Takkula, vice-chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, said that children's rights "include [the] right to a hate-free educational system. Since the EU is financially supporting the Palestinian administration, including the educational system, it has to ensure that the values taught to these kids correspond to the fundamental values of Europe itself."
A spokesman for the Department for International Development said in response to the TPA report that "[The UK doesn't] fund the PA directly and therefore [doesn't] fund textbooks. UK aid is spent on helping Palestinians to pay doctors and teachers, maintain water and electricity supplies and support refugees."
The spokesman said that the department ran "stringent checks" to ensure that aid money was not being used to fund violent propaganda.

Israël UNfair behandeld in VN, volgens Maxime Verhagen

Ik zou Maxime Verhagen bijna sympathiek gaan vinden...
Eigenlijk ben ik immers links, maar helaas kunnen Femke, Harrie en co niet het fatsoen opbrengen om de demonisering en discriminatie van Israël binnen de Verenigde Naties en andere internationale instituten eindelijk eens aan de kaak te stellen.

Israel unfairly singled out by UN, says Dutch FM
By Cnaan Liphshiz

Visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told Haaretz yesterday that the singling out of Israel for criticism in international forums was unfair.

"It is not acceptable to focus on Israel time after time, while other countries like Sudan do not receive any reference whatsoever at the United Nations Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly in New York," Verhagen said in an interview.
"I would like to set the record straight on Israel."

Interviewed in his suite at Jerusalem's King David Hotel, the Dutch foreign minister said he has pursued "a more internationally balanced approach" to Israel and has conditioned Dutch support for resolutions criticizing Israel upon condemnations for Hamas' actions.

Describing himself as a friend of Israel who feels "a close personal attachment" to its people, Verhagen added he did not always see eye to eye with Jerusalem.

"Friends can speak freely about concerns and differences. In my talk with [Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni I mentioned the need to observe human rights and dismantle outposts," he said.

Verhagen also said he believes that the people of Gaza "should not be collectively punished" and that "choking all economic activity there would only radicalize them and create more attacks on both sides.

"In my meetings with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni I discussed the possibility of reopening the borders so the export of agricultural export could take place."

Asked whether the Netherlands' support for private business initiatives in Gaza, mainly in agriculture, would help Hamas, the minister said: "Hamas concerns me. It's important Palestinian civilians realize that we recognize the difficult situation in Gaza, and that we want to help." Supporting agriculture, he said, is one of the ways of doing so.

A member of the ruling Christian Democratic Appeal party, the minister said his cabinet "would never negotiate with Hamas for as long as it calls for the destruction of Israel and as long as it doesn't give up on violence as a tool."

Although some of the CDA's coalition partners have called for opening ties to Hamas, Verhagen said the Netherlands "should never give a veneer of legitimacy to the shelling of civilians and blowing up of buses - and this is the opinion of both the government and the majority of the Dutch parliament."

As for Israel's image in Europe, he said, "there is still mistrust on the part of few of my European colleagues but the implementation of Israel's obligations in the U.S. road map for peace, such as halting the expansion of settlements and dismantling outposts, would make a big difference in this respect."

As part of his visit to the region, Verhagen will also travel to Syria. "By participating in the Annapolis peace summit, Syria made a choice to belong to the negotiations. It cannot at the same time participate in anti-Israel events, and I will make this absolutely clear to the Syrians," he said.

Turning to Dutch internal issues, the foreign minister noted that his government was bracing itself for the screening of a provocative, anti-Islam film by right-wing Dutch MP Geert Wilders.

"Freedom of speech doesn't give anyone the right to insult people," Verhagen said, noting there were concerns of a violent response to the film, similar to the riots which followed the publication of cartoons of Mohammed by a Danish newspaper two years ago.

"Clearly, our embassies abroad have to prepare for such concerns," he said. "If the government's position is not in line with the film we will make it explicit that we don't agree with it. We hope that our partners in the peace process will consider our opinions, and not the opinions of one person named Wilders."

EU commisaris: maatregelen tegen Gaza geen oorlogsmisdaad

Ik sluit mij van harte aan bij de woorden van EU commissaris Frano Frattini, en hoop dat hij ook gelijk heeft in het volgende:
Frattini continued to say that, "Europe's attitude towards Israel is changing, and Europe today better understands the complexities of the Middle East landscape."
Een paar maanden geleden zei Christiane Hohmann, woordvoerster voor de Europese Unie, dat zij het zogenaamde 'recht op terugkeer' van Palestijnse vluchtelingen steunt. Zij schaarde zich voor de rest geheel achter het Arabische vredesinitiatief. Ook Benita Ferrero-Waldner prijst dit initiatief en uit geen enkele kanttekening. De EU eist niet alleen onophoudelijk terughoudendheid van Israël, ze controleert onvoldoende hoe het vele geld voor de Palestijnse Autoriteit wordt besteed, en ze subsidiëert vele organisaties met een anti-Israël agenda, die soms openlijk tegen Israëls bestaansrecht lobbyen en voor een onbeperkt terugkeer van de vluchtelingen.

Top EU official: Gaza siege not a war crime
- Franco Frattini, European Commissioner for Justice Freedom and Security, says at Herzliya Conference that Israel has right to defend itself against Qassam rockets, expresses regret at EU treatment of Israel.
- John Bolton: Israel must consider military action against Iran
Dana Zimmerman YNET

A change in EU attitudes towards Israel? In a briefing to Israeli reporters Tuesday, European commissioner for Justice Freedom and Security, Frano Frattini, said that the steps leading up to the Gaza blackout cannot be construed as a war crime and criticized the incessant Qassam rocket fire on Israeli civilian population centers.

In a lecture sponsored by the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center, Frattini also issued a massive mea culpa to the State of Israel on behalf of the European community for its treatment of Israel during the second Intifada.

"There has been a large misunderstanding in recent years between Europe and Israel. And Israel is justified in its concerns. For too long, Europe has put too much blame on Israel for lack of peace with the Palestinians. We, as Europeans, should have understood Israel's concerns sooner," said Frattini.

The European official also noted that "as friends, it was our duty to criticize when we felt criticism was needed, but we did it too often and unfairly. We asked you to take risks and often we didn't provide you with assurances that you wouldn't stand alone if things went badly."

Frattini continued to say that, "Europe's attitude towards Israel is changing, and Europe [today] better understands the complexities of the Middle East landscape."

Commenting on the rising tide of Anti-Semitism throughout Europe, which has often led to marked tension between Israel and various European nations, Frattini maintained that "We are strongly fighting against Anti-Semitism in Europe. This kind of prejudice has no place in Europe today and never will. We will not tolerate Anti-Semitism and we take it very seriously."

The European commissioner also congratulated Israel on the Annapolis peace summit, calling it "a new opportunity in terms of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which we must not let slip through our fingers. To make 2008 the year of Israeli-Palestinian peace, we must remember the lessons of the past and move forward," he concluded.

Bolton: Israel's hour to take action against Iran

Also speaking at the Interdisciplinary Center Conference Tuesday was former US Ambassador the UN John Bolton.

Bolton harshly criticized US policy towards Iran, and said that there was a "close to zero percent chance that the Bush administration will authorize military action against Iran before leaving office."

He also noted that the US "used to have a policy on Iran and recently there was a new push to create a new policy but, sadly due to the direction American Policy is going, it seems that for the next few years the United States will be a bystander to the process."

The former ambassador consequently stated that it is now Israel's hour to consider military action against Iran, noting that "the question now comes to Israel, whether it will use military force to stop Iran."

Roni Sofer contributed to this article

Inwoners Sderot kwaad over nieuwe Qassam regen na verlichting Gazablokkade

Shortly after Barak's pronouncements the relative respite in rocket attacks on southern Israel seemed over, with nine Qassam rockets and 13 mortar shells landing in and around communities in the western Negev.
Volgens de inwoners van Sderot niet. Zij geloven dat er niet voor niets zo weinig raketten en granaten waren afgevuurd de afgelopen paar dagen, en menen dat de blokkade wel degelijk succesvol was, maar met het vooruitzicht op nieuwe brandstof werden gelijk weer Qassams afgeschoten. We zullen het niet weten, want Israël mag de Gazastrook niet voor diesel en humanitaire goederen afsluiten van de internationale gemeenschap, wat ik overigens goed kan begrijpen. Maar wat ik mis is een alternatief.
Ja, men veroordeelt de raketbeschietingen wel, maar daar hebben de mensen in Sderot niet veel aan. Wat mag Israël wel? Of beter gezegd, kan de druk op Hamas niet worden opgevoerd om een einde aan deze beschietingen te maken? Kan Egypte niet worden gedwongen de grens fatsoenlijk te bewaken en de smokkel tegen te gaan? Waarom zei niemand wat toen Egypte tientallen Hamas leden doorliet na de Hajj, ook al waren er sterke vermoedens dat zij miljoenen aan cash voor Hamas binnensmokkelden? Kan de Arabische Liga niet worden 'overgehaald' om zich duidelijk tegen Hamas uit te spreken?  

Sderot residents: Barak folded, now Qassams are back
(VIDEO) Nine rockets and 13 mortar shells land in Israel on Monday as defense minister announces easing of closure on Gaza. 'Resumption of rockets is proof that Barak was brash,' says chairman of Committee for a Secure Sderot
Shmulik Hadad
Published: 01.22.08, 00:50 / Israel News

[for video link:,7340,L-3497145,00.html  ]

VIDEO - Sderot residents found little solace in Defense Minister Ehud Barak's call for Israel to exert "more and more pressure on the Gaza Strip" on Monday evening. Earlier in the day Barak consented to ease the near-complete closure imposed on the Hamas-controlled territory, authorizing the entry of humanitarian aid and a one-time shipment of diesel fuel to power Gaza's electricity station less than a day after it was shut down.

Shortly after Barak's pronouncements the relative respite in rocket attacks on southern Israel seemed over, with nine Qassam rockets and 13 mortar shells landing in and around communities in the western Negev.

Several weeks ago Eli Dahan's wife Ayelet just barely managed to run down to the family's bomb shelter with the couple's infant son seconds before a Qassam rocket crashed into his nursery.

"The siege on Gaza gave us some room to breathe," he said on Monday. "We thought to ourselves that maybe now Gaza's residents would pressure Hamas into stopping the rocket fire. But there you go, our government immediately retreated."

The family returned to their house this week, though the top floor has not yet been repaired. "We wanted to come back to restore some sense of routine for the children," said an outraged Dahan.

"We spent the evening with relatives and when we left to go home, the rocket alert sirens blared," he recalled, "we started running and ducked for cover behind a garbage container. I thought to myself how we, the parents, must look to our children, running like this."

Alon Davidi, chairman of the Committee for a Secure Sderot, also expressed his disappointment with the defense minister's decision: "The rocket fire tonight is proof that Barak was too brash, he is a defense minister that lacks an understanding of this war on terror. Nothing could be more morally sound than cutting Gaza's power."

Arabische kritiek op Hamas voor Gaza crisis

Niet alleen Israël beschuldigt Hamas ervan een politiek spel te spelen over de hoofden van 1,5 miljoen inwoners, ook hoge PA functionarissen en de manager van Al Arabiya leggen de schuld voor de huidige crisis vooral bij Hamas.
Een hoge PA functionaris beweert bovendien dat Hamas de bakkerijen in Gaza heeft gedwongen nu voor de tweede dag achtereen dicht te blijven, ondanks het feit dat men nog meel voor twee maanden zou hebben.
Het zou goed zijn als de media deze claims even serieus zouden nemen als de claims van Hamas dat er door de Israëlische blokkade een humanitaire crisis is.

Arab editor blames Hamas for Gaza crisis
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST

A prominent Arab editor on Monday blamed Hamas for the ongoing crisis in the Gaza Strip, saying the Islamist movement had acted "stupidly" by firing rockets at Israel.

Meanwhile, sources close to Hamas said some of the movement's leaders had instructed all Palestinian factions to stop firing rockets and mortars at Israel.
According to the sources, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was one of those behind the decision to halt the attacks.

However, other Hamas leaders, including Mahmoud Zahar, Said Siam and Ahmed Ja'bari, commander of Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin Kassam, have rejected the decision, the sources added.

Abdel Rahman Rashed, a Saudi national serving as general manager of the pan-Arab Arabiya news channel, said Hamas was responsible for the suffering of some 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

"Hamas committed a stupid act when it gave the Israelis an excuse to launch attacks in retaliation for a few antique rockets," Rashed wrote in the London-based daily Asharq Al- Awsat.

"Prior to that, Hamas committed a big crime against the Palestinian people by overthrowing the Palestinian Authority [in the Gaza Strip]. The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have suffered a lot because of Hamas's actions. Hamas is bringing Israel back into the Gaza Strip after it was liberated by the Palestinian groups."

Rashed questioned the wisdom of firing rockets and mortars at Israel which, he said, was only increasing the suffering of the Palestinians, let alone that they were not causing much harm to Israel. He pointed out that "only" 10 Israelis were wounded in the recent attacks as opposed to the "huge disaster" that has befallen the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Rashed is regarded by many Arab journalists as an unofficial spokesman for the Saudi royal family. He previously served as editor-in-chief of the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper and his writings regularly reflect the views of the Saudi establishment.

PA officials in Ramallah have joined the bandwagon by blaming Hamas for the looming humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. The charges came only hours after the PA openly held Israel responsible for the fuel shortage that has plunged large parts of the Gaza Strip into darkness since Sunday night.

PA Information Minister Riad al-Malki said the latest crisis was the result of Hamas's "insistence on creating an Islamic republic in the Gaza Strip." He also accused Hamas of seeking to evade responsibility for the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip by blaming the Ramallah-based government of PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad.

Both Fayad and al-Malki left Ramallah Monday for a tour of a number of EU countries aimed at solving the crisis in the Gaza Strip. According to PA officials, the two are expected to visit Britain, Germany and Spain.

A top PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that Hamas was "holding more than 1.5 million Palestinians hostage" in an attempt to rally the Arab and Muslim masses against the PA and Israel.

"Of course, we strongly condemn the Israeli measures against the residents of the Gaza Strip, but Hamas is also responsible for what's happening there," he said. "Unfortunately, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are paying a heavy price for Hamas's irresponsible actions."

The official also accused Hamas of ordering owners of bakeries to keep their businesses closed for the second day running to create a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. "Hamas is preventing people from buying bread," he said. "They want to deepen the crisis so as to serve their own interests."

The official said that contrary to Hamas's claims, there is enough fuel and flour to keep the bakeries in the Gaza Strip operating for another two months.

"Hamas members have stolen most of the fuel in the Gaza Strip to fill their vehicles," he said.

dinsdag 22 januari 2008

Het hoofd van Hassan Nasrallah

Hassan Nasrallah van de Libanese bevrijdingsbeweging Hezbollah veroorzaakte in Israël minstens zoveel ophef met zijn toespraak over Israëlische lichaamsdelen als Geert Wilders hier doet met zijn provocerende uitspraken. Voor het overige vergelijk ik Nasrallah echter liever met Hitler.
In Israël kan menigeen Nasrallah's bloed wel drinken, en dat is geen antisemitische fabel maar een natuurlijke menselijke reaktie:
Nasrallah has got "body parts" of Israeli soldiers. Not just regular body parts, he says. Special ones. Heads, hands, legs. Probably other parts too. Trading in body parts and boasting about body parts is the trademark of a barbaric culture.

Palestine police reports -- and photographs -- recorded how Arab terrorists used to rearrange body parts of Jewish victims creatively - it is a specialty of the wonderful Islamic culture: genitals in eye sockets and mouth.

Does anyone want some body parts from Nasrallah? Indeed, he has body parts too - Nasrallah has a head for example. At present, it is attached to his body. Would the Lebanese people, Israel and the entire Middle East suffer if Nasrallah's head was no longer attached to his body? Is it a really evil suggestion? Is Nasrallah's life more important than those of the Lebanese legislators he helped to kill?

Should we trade those body parts that Nasrallah has for something? How about body parts for body parts? 

Provocative trade in corpses 

The responses to Hassan Nasrallah's speech stating that Hezbollah was in possession of the remains of Israel Defense Forces soldiers who died in the Second Lebanon War range from demands by ministers and Knesset members to assassinate Nasrallah to an attempt to interpret his comments as an expression of weakness. The voices of the relatives of abducted IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser could also be heard amid the tumult, saying that as long as the Hezbollah leader was not offering negotiations for their release, he should be ignored.

Nasrallah, the father of the theory that Israel is weaker than a spider's web, has already proven that he is attentive to the mood of Israeli society and knows how to get on its nerves and generate debate among its leadership on all matters related to the redemption of captives, whether alive or dead. In stating that his organization has the body parts of soldiers killed in battle, Nasrallah has hit at the heart of Israeli sensitivity.

The Israeli attitude toward the dead and dead bodies is loaded and complex. The dignity afforded the dead and the consideration granted to the family of the dead are indeed important values, for the sake of which the IDF and the State of Israel invest a lot of resources into identifying corpses. Nonetheless, conducting negotiations with Hezbollah as a result of a blatant provocation would be a serious deviation from the list of appropriate acts carried out in the name of these values. It would even be a serious distortion, undermining Israeli society's self-confidence and dragging it into a depressing and futile deal in death. 

Most of the cabinet ministers have so far been wise not to cooperate with Nasrallah's provocative trafficking in bodies and emotions. A few did get swept away in their reactions, but ultimately, it's clear that Israel will not let itself fall into the new abyss toward which Nasrallah wants to drag it.

Even if the government encounters pressure from those who rely on halakha (Jewish religious law) and the obligation of the living to bury their dead, it must understand that they are mistaken and misleading. As in other matters concerning the dead, such as organ donation and autopsies, the halakha regarding burying the dead is used as though it provided a definitive answer - even though the determining halakhic principle regarding live captives and certainly regarding corpses and body parts is that they should not be redeemed at an excessive cost.

Former IDF chief rabbi Brigadier General (res.) Yisrael Weiss expressed this in a reserved and balanced way yesterday, saying in an Army Radio interview that while we should try hard to bury the body parts of the dead, it should not come at any price. He supported a proposal made in Jerusalem whereby Israel will discuss the body parts only in the context of the ongoing negotiations for the release of Regev and Goldwasser.

The government would do well to stick to that position and treat Nasrallah with the repugnance due him, while ignoring - in the name of the dignity of the dead and the living - his recent macabre call for opening additional negotiations.