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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Body parts anyone?? Nasrallah's got 'em

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?
Ami Isseroff

Last update - 14:26 19/01/2008       
Nasrallah to Beirut crowd: We've got body parts of Israeli soldiers
By News Agencies and Haaretz Service
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday his group possessed body parts of Israeli soldiers left on southern Lebanon's battlefields during the Second Lebanon War.
Nasrallah addressed a crowd of followers in southern Beirut during a rally to mark the Shi'ite Ashoura festival.
"Oh Zionists your army is lying to you ... your army has left the body parts of your soldiers in our villages and fields," Nasrallah said.
"Our mujahideen used to fight these Zionists, killing them and collecting their body parts. I am not talking about regular body parts. I tell the Israelis, we have the heads of your soldiers, we have hands, we have legs," he added.
The last time Nasrallah appeared in public was in September 2006 at a Victory Rally marking the end of a month-long war between Israel and the militant Shi'ite group. Since then he has only addressed his supporters through video-links or on television.
Addressing a mass rally, Nasrallah vowed that no "surrenderist" peace plan will be accepted for Lebanon, declaring the only way was "resistance".
"I announce that our forces are on full alert to confront any possible war against Lebanon," he said.
"If Israel carries out any new aggression against us, we promise to retaliate in a war that will change the whole map of the region," Nasrallah warned.
If Israel continued to violate Lebanese air space and kidnap farmers in southern Lebanon, then "we will know how to retaliate."
Referring to the crisis in the Gaza Strip, Nasrallah said: "We will not accept this oppression against the people of Palestine. I call on the Arab nation to stand and back their resistance movement's military, and financially to confront (US President George W) Bush's massacre of the people of Gaza."
Footage broadcast on Hezbollah's al-Manar television and other stations carried pictures of the black-turbaned Nasrallah surrounded by a sea of people.
Hezbollah supporters marched in procession with banners proclaiming: "We will not be humiliated". They also blocked suburban roads, chanting "death to America, death to Israel".
"Oh God protect Nasrallah," the huge crowd chanted. Veiled women wept as the Hezbollah leader walked among them, while men raised their fists chanting "Nasrallah is our leader."
Surrounded by dozens of bodyguards, Nasrallah walked through the district toward a stadium to deliver the speech marking Ashura, Shi'ite Islam's holiest day.
It marks the death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, who died in a battle in 680 against the leader of what became the Sunni branch of Islam. The battle took place in Karbala, which is located in present-day Iraq.
Nasrallah further denounced Bush's tour to the Middle East last week as "devilish."
In remarks on Lebanon's political crisis, Nasrallah reiterated that the opposition, which is led by his movement, backs the Arab Legaue plan.
The three-point plan is for the election of army chief General Michel Suleiman as president, a national unity government in which no one party has veto power, and the adoption of a new electoral law.
Although the ruling coalition has given the plan its full backing, Hezbollah insists that the opposition be granted a third of the seats in a new government so it can have veto power.
Everyone - the majority and the opposition - should have a fair share in ruling the country, Nasrallah said, adding: "If someone in Lebanon is looking to internationalize the Lebanese crisis, we tell them 'you are dreaming.' We will not accept an American-Zionist solution for our political crisis."
Lebanese lawmakers are scheduled to meet again on Monday to try and elect a president, but there is expectaion the parliamentary session will meet the same fate as the 12 previous ones, and be postponed.
Arab League chief Amr Mussa, who arrived in the Syrian capital from Beirut on Friday, reported progress in negotiations between the pro- and anti-Syrian factions over the deadlock.

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FBI and Islamists

FBI and Islamists? Outrageous? I'll let you in on a secret - The Israeli Mossad had a man inside the Syrian government. He was hanged unfortunately. It's called "humint."
Does it occur to Emerson that this is a way of understanding and infiltrating organizations, as well as a way to win hearts and minds?
FBI's Latest Outreach Outrage
by Steven Emerson
IPT News Service
November 7, 2007

Much has been written about the U.S. government's current bout of schizophrenia in its outreach to the American Muslim community, specifically related to the Department of Justice. While federal prosecutors in Dallas have labeled several Islamist organizations as unindicted co-conspirators – describing them as front groups for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood - in the terrorist financing trial against the Holy Land for Relief and Development (HLF), the FBI is meeting with the very same groups to hold outreach events and the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ is setting up booths at their conferences. 

As wrongheaded and shortsighted as these policies are, they do not hold a candle to a recent outreach event held by the FBI's Detroit field office at the end of last month. As reported in the Detroit Free Press (see: Detroit's FBI chief: Violence extremism cuts across religions), two top FBI officials from that office "spoke to about 50 Muslims inside the Islamic Organization of North America, or Tanzeem-e-Islami." The Free Press described the organization as merely "a Sunni mosque with a primarily Pakistani congregation" and tells us that the meeting was nothing more than "part of an effort by the FBI to reach out to Muslims and other communities."

While outreach to the Muslim community remains an important endeavor, officials at the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have become far less discerning in determining who the gatekeepers and spokesmen for the American Muslim community should be.

Take this recent meeting with Tanzeem-e-Islami, a group founded in Pakistan in 1975 and headed by a man named Dr. Israr Ahmad. The FBI might be unaware, but Ahmad is often credited with initiating the vicious rumor, spread throughout the Muslim world, that Israel was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. On the heels of the attacks, he sent faxes to various U.S. mosques and Islamic centers, stating:

The secret Israeli service Musad [sic] orchestrated these terrorist attacks ... [which] are a vital link in the chain of events that the Jews are undertaking to fulfill their dream of world domination.

It turns out that Dr. Ahmad is a rather prolific writer on such topics, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories permeate his writing. Canada's National Post reported in 2006 that, according to Ahmad:

Islam's renaissance will begin in Pakistan … because the Arab world is living under subjugation. Only the Pakistan region "has the potential for standing up against the nefarious designs of the global power-brokers and to resist the rising tides of the Jewish/Zionist hegemony."

And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Ahmad's opinions about Jews. Also reported in the National Post:

Another of his books repeats the Jewish conspiracy theories popular among neo-Nazis, claiming that Jews have "a deeply ingrained tendency to conspire and to maneuver things surreptitiously for their own gain."

The Jews exert a "wicked web of control and exploitation" through their ownership of banks, insurance companies and stock exchanges, he claims.

He compares Jews to parasites, calls the Holocaust "Divine punishment" and foresees the "total extermination" of Jews at the hands of Muslims.

Ahmad lives in Pakistan and didn't attend the meeting. But what's the best that can be said about the FBI, whose officials meet with members of a group founded by such a hate-filled man?

Ahmad's views are not limited to anti-Jewish rhetoric. He's also a leading advocate of Islamic supremacy and the revival of the Caliphate. A simple trip to the Islamic Organization of North America's website would have led the FBI to articles calling for this. Some of the links are now defunct (perhaps due to bad press from the National Post), but their content can be judged clearly by their titles. According to the National Post, the Tanzeem-e-Islami's "goal is to establish the system of social justice of the Caliphate [Islamic state] firstly in Pakistan and then in the whole world," and that Ahmad's "ideal state" would include the following three principles:

"(1) Sovereignty belongs to Almighty Allah alone; (2) No legislation can be done at any level that is totally or partially repugnant to Koran and Sunnah, and; (3) Full citizenship of the state is for the Muslims only."

And Dr. Ahmad is not shy about his objective. An official bio states:

For the last forty years or so, Dr. Israr Ahmad has been actively engaged not only in reviving the Qur'an-centered Islamic perennial philosophy and world-view but also reforming the society in a practical way with the ultimate objective of establishing a true Islamic State, or the System of Khilafah.

And Tanzeem extremism is not an abstract threat. There are real time examples on North American soil. Just last month, the New York Times reported on an Islamic extremist in North Carolina, 21-year old Samir Khan, in an article titled, "An Internet Jihad Aims at U.S. Viewers." As reported in the Times, before hooking up with Tanzeem, Khan:

[m]irrored his teenage peers, from their slang to their baggy pants, until August 2001 when, at age 15, he said, he attended a weeklong summer camp at a mosque in Queens, which was sponsored by a fundamentalist but nonviolent group now known as the Islamic Organization of North America (IONA).

"They were teaching things about religion and brotherhood that captivated me," Mr. Khan said. He said he went back to school knowing "what I wanted to do with my life: be a firm Muslim, a strong Muslim, a practicing Muslim."

And now Khan is a leading jihadi webmaster. And Dr. Ahmad would be proud of Khan, as Ahmad himself came to the United States to spread his radical version of Islam, speaking at a conference sponsored by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in 1995 – the same group that's listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF Hamas fundraising trial, and whose 2007 convention in Illinois included a booth sponsored by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

At the 1995 conference, Ahmad reportedly told the audience, "The process of the revival of Islam in different parts of the world is real. A final showdown between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world, which has been captured by the Jews, would soon take place. The Gulf War was just a rehearsal for the coming conflict." Ahmad said that all Muslims, including those in the room and the rest of the American Muslim community, should be ready for just such a battle.

Tanzeem-e-Islami member and student of Ahmad, Qayyum Abdul Jamal, was the "prayer leader" at the Al-Rahman Islamic Center and alleged spiritual leader of a 17-member cell that purchased three tons of ammonium nitrate to bomb several targets in Ontario including the parliament building in Ottawa, and the CN Tower and Canadian Security and Intelligence Service offices in Toronto. The arrests of Abdul Jamal and his followers were a part of a series of raids in Europe and North America – that began in Bosnia with the arrest of a two-man cell charged in a plot to attack the British embassy in Sarajevo – all connected to a worldwide Internet terrorism network with links to al Qaeda in Iraq, among other terrorist elements.

Tanzeem-e-Islami members have also partnered with the Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Muslim American Society (MAS), whose President was forced to resign in September from his appointment on the Virginia's Commission of Immigration, when his radical speeches were posted on the Internet. The groups issued a joint press release in 2004 discussing their "unity of purpose." As further evidence of their cooperation, recently, both groups became members of an outfit calling itself the Northern California Islamic Council.

Exacerbating this abject ignorance of some FBI officials are the remarks by Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena to Tanzeem-e-Islami members describing the dangers of extremists in every religion. According to the Free Press, Arena told the assembled audience, "There are plenty of people out there in my faith, the Christian faith, who use these extremist views to support their thoughts on racial superiority, be it the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis, Aryan Nation, all these people, these groups...they're all based on a religious view." So aside from providing an Islamic supremacist sect with more ammunition to justify its own anti-Western views, what exactly is Arena hoping to accomplish with his meeting?

Ironically, Agent Arena could not have been more oblivious to the nature of the group he was addressing. The same story states, "Arena said after the meeting that in `every religion, you have individuals who try to hijack the faith...the Muslim faith, the Jewish faith, the Christian faith.'" In case the examples of Ahmad's hatred and Islamic supremacy listed above are not enough to convince Agent Arena just who the hijackers in this scenario are, here are some more of Dr. Ahmad's religious stylings:

In an article titled, "Why Israel Is Unacceptable," Ahmad refers to Israel as a disease, asserting:

Pakistan was born nine months earlier than Israel. In my opinion this was not a coincidence. For, in accordance with a saying of the Prophet (SAW) - "Allah (SWT) has not created a disease without creating its cure" - Pakistan was created as an "antidote" to the state of Israel and will face up Israel in the final confrontation of Truth and falsehood.

And he engages in more of his trademark, virulent anti-Semitism, writing:

It is a historical fact that Jews have always exploited their friends and allies to their own advantage.

Dr. Ahmad delves further into Nazi rhetoric, informing his readers that:

[t]he Jews have exploited the Protestants to accomplish most of their ill-conceived objectives, such as: the promotion of secularism and the establishment of interest-based banking system. The banking system was used as a bait to clutch the whole of Christian world into the jaws of interest-based lending and, thus, into perpetual debt.

And, unsurprisingly, he views the Arab-Israeli conflict through a, some may say, "hijacked" religious lens:

We need to understand that the conflict over Palestine is not between the Arabs and Israel, instead, it is between Muslims and Jews.

Lest FBI officials claim that the members of Tanzeem-e-Islami should not be held responsible for the hate-filled rantings of its leader, a Tanzeem-e-Islami publication calling for the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate titled, "Why Tanzeem-e-Islami ?" (published in Flushing NY in 1997), has a page for a signed "Oath of Allegiance For Joining Tanzeem-e-Islami" which includes a "pledge to Dr. Israr Ahmad, Ameer of Tanzeem-e-Islami."

It seems obvious that many government officials are hardly discerning when it comes to decisions regarding Muslim outreach and partnership programs. After all, headquarters-directed FBI outreach policies, of which this incident is symptomatic, require routine meetings and cooperation with members of Muslim Brotherhood front groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and ISNA. Even so, the Detroit field office's meeting with a Tanzeem-e-Islami chapter stands out as highly dubious, given its founders' unapologetic brand of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism.

Meeting with organizations such as the Islamic Organization of North America accrues no benefits to the FBI and only serves to empower extremists such as Ahmad in his quest to spread his puritanical, hateful, and intolerant ideology. These FBI outreach policies imposed by headquarters are undermining our national security by reaching out to radicals in our midst.

The IPT accepts no funding from outside the United States, nor from any governmental agency or political institution. Your support of The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical in winning a battle we cannot afford to lose. All donations are tax-deductible. Click here to donate online. The Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation is a recognized 501(c)3 organization

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Gaza

Women cops in Gaza investigate important cases like this one:
Rania had been working on the case of an unmarried female university student who had been photographed having sex. It was unclear whether she was engaged in prostitution, which is a crime. Either way, she had put herself in a compromising position that, in Rania's view, could harm the Palestinian cause. Drugs and prostitution lead to "collaboration with Israel," she said.
Rania took the pictures to the woman's family and told them of the student's "wrongdoing."
A Zionist conspiracy against Palestinian womanhood. No danger of that happening to police recruit Fida:
Another recruit, Fida Abu Husain, 28, is single and lives with her family in the Jabaliya refugee camp, north of Gaza City. "I used to tell my family that my dream was to join Qassam," she said, referring to the Hamas military wing. "I'm not Qassam, but I'm in the police force. It's considered jihad," a holy mission, she said.
Ms. Husain works for Amin Nofal, general manager of the military court system. Mr. Nofal cannot see much of her behind her full veil, but says he identifies her by her voice and manner.
"Some women cover their beauty, and others hide their ugliness," he said, referring to the niqab. "It's fair. There are those who feel comfortable wearing it when dealing with men."
Ami Isseroff

January 18, 2008
Hamas Police Force Recruits Women in Gaza
GAZA CITY — The policemen of Hamas now have company: since the Islamic group took over here last June it has been recruiting policewomen as well.
Since mid-August, 60 women have been accepted into the force. Unlike policemen, the women have not played any role in resisting the latest Israeli incursions, instead working mostly on cases that involve dealing with women, like drugs and prostitution, and helping out at police headquarters and the central jail.
Restoring internal security to the lawless Gaza Strip was one of the main challenges for Hamas upon taking over the area after a civil war with Fatah. The policewomen are one way Hamas has tried to fill the security gap.
Faced with diplomatic and internal isolation, Hamas has also struggled to recreate a criminal justice system, in part because the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, is paying salaries to the old judges, prosecutors and police officers, mostly from Fatah, and telling them to stay at home. Hamas has named only four judges so far.
It is a paradox of Islamist societies that their deeply conservative restrictions on women and the mingling of the sexes necessarily create opportunities for women in certain areas, like sports, criminal justice and medicine.
But in Gaza, female empowerment and Hamas-style religious orthodoxy are not always an easy mix. Many religious women refuse to do police work because it involves working closely with men and requires working nights.
There are other uncertainties. For example, Rania, 26, the leader of the women's force, refused to give her full name during an interview. She felt that her future with the police was not yet assured, and that she might one day need to go back to her former career as a religious instructor in mosques. If so, her interlude as a policewoman may spoil her relations with her students, she said.
Like most of her female colleagues, Rania wears the niqab, a full veil that leaves only a slit for the eyes. A sign of modesty, it affords her a degree of anonymity as well.
One recruit, Fatma, 27, who preferred not to give her full name, wears only a head scarf, which leaves her face exposed. But she complained that it was hard to run in her long Islamic robe, known as a jilbab. She said that her bosses were thinking of designing a new uniform for easier movement. "They are talking about pants, and a jilbab that is open on both sides," she said.
Twenty of the female recruits have received training in interrogation techniques, and in shooting pistols and AK-47s, police officials said.
Though Gaza is generally conservative, growing economic hardship intensified by the isolation of the strip under Hamas leadership has pushed more women to leave the house for the working world. Since Hamas began recruiting women for the police through its television and radio stations, and calling on women in mosques to consider the job a religious duty, hundreds have applied.
They are often highly qualified, with more than two-thirds having studied civil and criminal law at Al Azhar University, the only institution here that teaches law. But nothing in school can quite prepare a young woman for a drug raid, said Fatma, who studied law at Al Azhar.
"The first time, it was scary," Fatma said. "We hadn't received any special training. But the second time was better."
When raiding the house of a suspected dealer, Fatma said, four policewomen are typically assigned to join 30 men. The policewomen search female suspects who may be hiding drugs on their bodies, and go into areas off limits for Hamas policemen, like family bedrooms.
Another recruit, Fida Abu Husain, 28, is single and lives with her family in the Jabaliya refugee camp, north of Gaza City. "I used to tell my family that my dream was to join Qassam," she said, referring to the Hamas military wing. "I'm not Qassam, but I'm in the police force. It's considered jihad," a holy mission, she said.
Ms. Husain works for Amin Nofal, general manager of the military court system. Mr. Nofal cannot see much of her behind her full veil, but says he identifies her by her voice and manner.
"Some women cover their beauty, and others hide their ugliness," he said, referring to the niqab. "It's fair. There are those who feel comfortable wearing it when dealing with men."
Rania had been working on the case of an unmarried female university student who had been photographed having sex. It was unclear whether she was engaged in prostitution, which is a crime. Either way, she had put herself in a compromising position that, in Rania's view, could harm the Palestinian cause. Drugs and prostitution lead to "collaboration with Israel," she said.
Rania took the pictures to the woman's family and told them of the student's "wrongdoing."
Maher al-Ramli, 45, the chief of the Hamas police, said that the police usually aimed for reconciliation, but Rania acknowledged that in cases of "family honor," the women often ended up dead at the hands of male relatives or were sometimes married off to those they had slept with or had been raped by.

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What little Johnnie learns about Jihad

" Oh Oh Oh. There is an infidel. See the infidel? He is evil. Run infidel run... We are all good Muslims... "
Jihad is a "good works" according to a US textbook.
He kids - Jihad is what happened on 9-11 2001. Do you think that was "good works?" Of course, it was an urban renewal project, right?
Ami Isseroff
Textbook: Islamic 'jihad' means doing good works
Also includes Muslims fighting 'to protect themselves from harm'
Posted: January 16, 2008
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2008

An Islamic "jihad" is an effort by Muslims to convince "others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research," according to a middle school textbook used in California and other states.
And even at its most violent, "jihad" simply is Muslims fighting "to protect themselves from those who would do them harm," says the "History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond" book published by Teachers' Curriculum Institute.
But a parent whose child has been handed the text in a Sacramento district is accusing the publisher of a pro-Muslim bias to the point that Islamic theology has been incorporated into the public school teachings.
"It makes an attempt to seem like an egalitarian world history book, but on closer inspection you find that seven (not all are titled so) of the chapters deal with Islam or Muslim subjects," wrote the parent, whose name was being withheld, in a letter to WND.

Sacramento's students are being taught "jihad" is an effort to convince "others to take up worthy causes."

"The upsetting part is not only do they go into the history (which would be acceptable) but also the teaching of Islam," she said. "This book does not really go into Christianity or the teachings of Christ, nor does it address religious doctrine elsewhere to the degree it does Islam."
She said the book's one page referencing Jews "is only to convey that they were tortured by Crusaders to get them to convert to 'Christianity.' (It fails to mention that the biggest persecutors of Jews throughout history and still today are Arab Muslims). It gives four other one-liner references to the Jews being blamed for the plagues and problems in the land. It does not talk about the Jews as making a significant impact on the culture at large."
"How can the writers of this text get away with this?" she asked.
Bert Bower, founder of TCI, said not only did his company have experts review the book, but the state of California also reviewed it, and has approved it for use in public schools.
He said the company tries to move history out from between the covers of a textbook and into students' minds, and that is how the book was developed.
"Keep in mind when looking at this particular book scholars from all over California (reviewed it)," he said. "We have our own scholars who created the program, California scholars look at the program and makes sure [it] is accurate."
(Story continues below)
 One of those experts who contributed to the text, according to the American Textbook Council, which released a scathing indictment of the project, is Ayad Al-Qazzaz.
"Al-Qazzaz is a Muslim apologist, a frequent speaker in Northern California school districts promoting Islam and Arab causes," the ATC review said. "Al-Qazzaz also co-wrote AWAIR's 'Arab World Notebook.' AWAIR stands for Arab World and Islamic Resources, an opaque, proselytizing 'non-profit organization' that conducts teacher workshops and sells supplementary materials to schools."
The textbook council, an independent national research group set up in 1989 to review history and social studies texts in public schools, quoted directly from the book to provide evidence of its bias.

The word jihad means "to strive." Jihad represents the human struggle to overcome difficulties and do things that would be pleasing to God. Muslims strive to respond positively to personal difficulties as well as worldly challenges. For instance, they might work to become better people, reform society, or correct injustice.
Jihad has always been an important Islamic concept. One hadith, or account of Muhammad, tells about the prophet's return from a battle. He declared that he and his men had carried out the "lesser jihad," the external struggle against oppression. The "greater jihad," he said, was the fight against evil within oneself. Examples of the greater jihad include working hard for a goal, giving up a bad habit, getting an education, or obeying your parents when you may not want to.

Another hadith says that Muslims should fulfill jihad with the heart, tongue, and hand. Muslims use the heart in their struggle to resist evil. The tongue may convince others to take up worthy causes, such as funding medical research. Hands may perform good works and correct wrongs.

Sometimes, however, jihad becomes a physical struggle. The Quran tells Muslims to fight to protect themselves from those who would do them harm or to right a terrible wrong. Early Muslims considered their efforts to protect their territory and extend their rule over other regions to be a form of jihad. However, the Quran forbade Muslims to force others to convert to Islam. So, non-Muslims who came under Muslim rule were allowed to practice their faiths."
The council, in describing the text as a book written by "dictation from Islamic sources," said such passages "should put speculation to rest about what California's seventh-grade students may learn about Islam. At the very least, the passages are incomplete. More precisely, they are dishonest."
Such passages fail to explain "the essentially religious nature of the subject," the council said. "It ignores any challenge to international security and western-style law. The treatment is lyrical and loaded, echoing the language recommended by Islamist consultants."
The Sacramento parent said she became suspicious because of the school's decision to send a copy of the book home with her son and he started describing how it would teach students to write in Arabic.
A review left her even more worried. "I was disturbed probably the greatest portion of this book is about Islam. It goes into the doctrine of Islam in detail," she said. "There are 35 chapters. Out of those, I counted at least seven [that focus] on Islam."
She said she looked at the publication's list of contributors, and found the name of Ayad Al-Qazzaz, whom she'd had herself for a class on Middle Eastern studies.
"That was a big flag for me," she said.
WND previously has reported on the influence of Islamic "consultants" on public school texts in the United States, as well as how other schools have included the "Five Pillars of Islam" among their required courses.
The parent said she just wanted people to know of the agenda being taught.
"After seeing Al-Qazzaz as one of the main contributors I began to put two and two together … about the extra book coming home only in this class and I questioned where this book's money source came from – I still do not know," she said.
"I am very troubled that in the name of tolerance and educating American children about the Muslim empire in history they get away with giving beginning Islamic teaching which may cause many to perhaps one day become Muslims," she said. "My son tells me that the students will even be using calligraphy to copy parts of the Quran in Arabic as an enrichment activity."
The ATC's second excerpt from the book dealt with the definition of sharia law.
"For example, the Quran tells women to 'not display their beauty.' For this reason, Muslim women usually wear different forms of modest dress. Most women cover their arms and legs. Many also wear scarves over the hair," the book said.
Bower said Christianity is addressed in chapters 3, 6, 31 and 32 of the book, including descriptions of the Crusades, while the company's website shows an entire unit called, "The Rise of Islam," including chapters on the Arabian peninsula, "The Prophet Muhammad," "The Teachings of Islam," "Contributions of Muslims to World Civilizations," and "From the Crusades to the Rise of New Muslim Empires."
The recommendations included that "students learn about the beliefs and practices of Islam" and "learn about the life of Muhammad and the rise and expansion of Muslim rule."
Bower said the textbook is the answer to the demands in today's society for a "multicultural" education, and he said whenever some historical subjects are taught, there's always controversy. He cited the internment of Japanese people in the United States during World War II as an example.
His company's book, he said, "really gives students multiple perspectives."
But he also said he wasn't aware of any agenda held by any contributors to the book, including Al-Qazzaz. "I'll have to look into that," he said.
He said about one-third of California's districts use the book, and so do thousands of other districts across the country.
If a parent objects to the agenda in the book, he said, "it's up to them to make a decision, do they want to have the kids opt out of this part. It's their local decision to do so. But in this age isn't it important for us, for our students to know as much about as many different religions as possible?"
Others may agree that students need to know about the world in which they live, but the TCI book is not the right one to teach them.
According to a report from William J. Bennetta at the Textbook League, officials in Scottsdale, Ariz., tested the book, and ultimately rejected it after parents rallied to complain.
"Students who took a 7th-grade social students course … were subject to gross, prolonged indoctrination in Islam," he wrote.
"Much of the indoctrination was delivered in a corrupt school book titled 'History Alive! The Medieval World and Beyond,' produced by [TCI]," he said. "The writers of [the book], by relentlessly presenting Muslim religious tales and religious beliefs as matters of historical fact, have striven hard to induce students to embrace Islam."
He wrote that the indoctrination is "concentrated in chapters 8 and 9. This material consists overwhelmingly of Islamic religious propaganda. It includes blatant preaching as well as deceptive claims and extensive fraudulent narratives dealing with the beginnings of Islam, the life of Muhammad, and the inception of the Quran. These claims and narratives are disguised as accounts of history. They actually are restatements of Muslim fables and superstitions."
Bennetta also noted that the book exhibits contempt for Judaism and Christianity. "For example, In a passage in chapter 9, the TCI writers convey the lesson that a religious view held by Muslims is important, but views held by Jews and Christians are unworthy of consideration."
Even the level of scholarly work is deficient, he continued. "They teach, in chapter 9, that if someone encounters some antiquated hearsay and jots it down, the hearsay becomes 'written evidence' of historical happenings."
In an Internet posting about the Scottsdale use of the text, Janie White, a parent in the district, reported the book included "fake history" along with "Islamic religious proselytizing and indoctrination techniques."
Officials with the Sacramento school district declined to respond to WND requests for comment about the book and its use.
Al-Qazzaz, who teaches at Cal State-Sacramento, has explained in other Internet postings "greater jihad" is to become better Muslims and "lesser jihad" is to fight against Islam's enemies.

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Defending Israel in Britain

Someone has to do this -
Last update - 11:56 18/01/2008    
 New ambassador to U.K. steps up PR to boost Israel's image 
By Assaf Uni, Haaretz Correspondent 
LONDON - Israel's ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, was met by dozens of protesters against the Israeli occupation when he arrived Wednesday to speak at a bastion of anti-Israel criticism in British academia - the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.
Inside the SOAS auditorium, after a meticulous security check, the students waited - with kaffiyeh headdresses, prepared questions, and a desire to have the Palestinians' voice be heard before an official representative of Israel.
"We wanted to bring the ambassador right into the lion's den," the British Zionist Federation organizers said, "and he readily consented."
Before the proceedings began, the host made an announcement: "The ambassador has asked me to say that the tougher and hard-hitting the questions are - the better."
Israeli PR efforts in Britain have kicked up a notch since Prosor became ambassador two months ago. As a former Foreign Ministry director general, he is focusing on speeches to new kinds of audiences, frequent television appearances and press interviews.
"I'm not afraid to appear anywhere, and there is no platform - suitable of course - that I will not utilize for PR work," Prosor says.
Among other venues, he delivered a speech at St. Antony's College, Oxford, the day after that institution invited Holocaust denier David Irving to speak.
Prosor says he wants to influence British public opinion, which he says is more extreme than the political establishment in its criticism of Israel, and hugely influential.
"If something remains of the British Empire's power in the world, it is the British media's impact," he says.
This is what brought the ambassador to address a capacity-crowd at SOAS. The students sat in the gallery, while the Zionist Federation's invitees sat below.
"I am here to present the arguments for Israel," Prosor said at the outset, before answering the students' questions.
These were mostly critical: Do you believe that Israel's actions constitute international war crimes? Do you think there will be something like the Nuremberg Trials for Israelis involved in the conflict, or that there will be truth and reconciliation committees like in South Africa? Why do you designate Hamas as a terror organization and reject dialogue, when Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir were terrorists themselves? Do you even believe the words you're saying here? - the latter question prompting applause from the gallery.
Prosor gave answers, while repeating Israel's main PR points: the difficulty of contending with suicide bombings, former prime minister Ehud Barak's generous offer to Yasser Arafat in 2000 and "the fact that the Israeli public has moved leftward in recent years whereas the Palestinians have moved to the extreme right."
Applause from the lower part of the auditorium greeted his declaration that "Jerusalem shall remain the capital of Israel forever."
"If there is one thing I want you to take home with you it is this: Israel is a democracy under attack that is dealing with difficulties that no other country is facing," Prosor concluded.
He estimates that most Britons believe that "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a clear case of David versus Goliath," as one unconvinced student said afterward. He therefore considers it his job - among other things - to place the conflict within a broad context and present the complexity of life in Israel. He doesn't worry about legitimizing Israel-bashers by parrying their claims.
"You've got to consider the alternative - If I don't show up, the vacuum I leave will be filled by someone else," he says. "So I will go to universities, to trade unions, to relevant conferences. So long as somebody gives me a platform - I will come.

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Business in Sderot - not as usual

One company is leaving, but many others are coming to Sderot. Cab we blame those who leave?
One attack too many for Sderot's mattress factory
Tovah Lazaroff , THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 18, 2008

The rocket that hit near his factory's doorway in Sderot on Thursday morning was the last straw for the CEO of Hollandia International.

By nightfall he had decided to move his factory to the center of the country and to provide financial assistance to his 120 employees, including 86 from Sderot, so that they could relocate, too.

"There is no other choice," said Hollandia President and CEO Avi Barssessat, who lives in a moshav near Ashkelon and commutes every day to Sderot.Founded in 1981, Hollandia International, which exports its high-end mattresses around the world, moved its sole manufacturing center to Sderot 11 years ago out of Zionist ideology, Barssessat told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday night. But the rocket attacks have finally compelled him to move out.

"I believe in [building up] the Negev," he said, "but sustaining seven years of rocket attacks was more than I or anyone should endure."

Barssessat said he believed he was the first factory owner to leave Sderot as a result of the rocket attacks. "I hope it will be a warning light for the government," he added.

He described his decision as emotionally charged, and said he had considered the move often, but held back during previous periods of intense rocket

"It is impossible. This is not a game. No one can be a hero for so long and entrust their lives to the luck of the draw," he said.

Barssessat spoke of the NIS 30,000 of his own funds he had invested in protected windows for the factory. Those windows, he said, had made the difference between life and death for at least eight of his workers on Thursday.

"I could have been at eight funerals today," he said. "It was a miracle."

As it was, 16 workers were treated for shock, Barssessat said.

Shalom Halevi, who works in the Sderot mayor's office, said that Barssessat's decision was an isolated action.

The number of factories in Sderot has grown in the last six years from approximately 60 to 75, of which Hollandia is a mid-size company. Other companies continue to invest in Sderot, such as food giant Osem, which has about 400 workers and is in the midst of expanding to include a new soup line, Halevi said.

One hi-tech firm is actually working on moving engineers to Sderot, Halevi

Unemployment in the city is at 3.5 percent.

As a worker in the municipality who had helped Barssessat move into Sderot, Halevi added that he was surprised to hear the CEO was leaving. "I don't believe it," Halevi said.

Barssessat added, when told of that response, "I don't believe it myself."

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Polls show advantage for Israeli right

The parties of the hard right would have an overwhelming advantage in the next elections. Likud+NRP+Yisrael Beiteinu = 48. With the probable addition of Shas and the new social justice party they would have a governing coalition. Several polls have shown the same result.
Panels poll: Likud 27, Labor 19, Kadima 11, Nat'l Union/NRP 11, Yisrael Beiteinu 10, Shas 7, Social Justice 8
Dr. Aaron Lerner 18 January 2008

"Panels"  poll conducted week of 17 January for the Knessel Channel (99) and broadcast on 17 January as reported in the 18 January edition of Makor Rishon. If elections were held today how would you vote (expressed in mandates)
Actual Knesset today in [brackets]
27 [12] Likud
19 [19] Labor
11 [29] Kadima
11 [09] Nat'l Union/NRP
10 [11] Yisrael Beteinu
07 [11] Shas
08 [00] Social Justice (Gaydamak Party)
10 [10] Arab parties
05 [06] Yahadut Hatorah
05 [05] Meretz
02 [07] Retirees Party
05 [00] Undecided

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ancient seal found in Jerusalem

The seal was made in Babylonia. Therefore it is not clear how or why it is a "first temple seal." But it is an ancient seal and confirms some old testament texts, and supports the claim of Jews to Jerusalem.  But then again, maybe it is not so great:
The seal, which was bought in Babylon and dates to 538-445 BCE, portrays a common and popular cultic scene, Mazar said.

The 2.1 x 1.8-cm. elliptical seal is engraved with two bearded priests standing on either side of an incense altar with their hands raised forward in a position of worship.

A crescent moon, the symbol of the chief Babylonian god Sin, appears on the top of the altar.
Is this indeed a seal of servants in the temple??
Ami Isseroff

Temple seal found in Jerusalem
Etgar Lefkovits , THE JERUSALEM POST Jan. 17, 2008

A stone seal bearing the name of one of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David, a prominent Israeli archeologist said Wednesday.

The 2,500-year-old black stone seal, which has the name "Temech" engraved on it, was found earlier this week amid stratified debris in the excavation under way just outside the Old City walls near the Dung Gate, said archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, who is leading the dig.

According to the Book of Nehemiah, the Temech family were servants of the First Temple and were sent into exile to Babylon following its destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

The family was among those who later returned to Jerusalem, the Bible recounts.

The seal, which was bought in Babylon and dates to 538-445 BCE, portrays a common and popular cultic scene, Mazar said.

The 2.1 x 1.8-cm. elliptical seal is engraved with two bearded priests standing on either side of an incense altar with their hands raised forward in a position of worship.

A crescent moon, the symbol of the chief Babylonian god Sin, appears on the top of the altar.

Under this scene are three Hebrew letters spelling Temech, Mazar said.

The Bible refers to the Temech family: "These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city." [Nehemiah 7:6]..."The Nethinim [7:46]"... The children of Temech." [7:55].

The fact that this cultic scene relates to the Babylonian chief god seemed not to have disturbed the Jews who used it on their own seal, she added.

The seal of one of the members of the Temech family was discovered just dozens of meters away from the Opel area, where the servants of the Temple, or "Nethinim," lived in the time of Nehemiah, Mazar said.

"The seal of the Temech family gives us a direct connection between archeology and the biblical sources and serves as actual evidence of a family mentioned in the Bible," she said. "One cannot help being astonished by the credibility of the biblical source as seen by the archaeological find."

The find will be announced by Mazar at the 8th annual Herzliya Conference on Sunday.

The archeologist, who rose to international prominence for her recent excavation that may have uncovered King David's palace, most recently uncovered the remnants of a wall from Nehemiah.

The dig is being sponsored by the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem research institute where Mazar serves as a senior fellow, and the City of David Foundation, which promotes Jewish settlement throughout east Jerusalem.


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Qassams cause post-traumatic stress in Sderot

Not very surprising news from Israel. I bet you won't find this in the Washington Post or the New York Times.
Study: Most Sderot kids exhibit post-traumatic stress symptoms
By Mijal Grinberg and Eli Ashkenazi, Haaretz Correspondents  Last update -
09:26 17/01/2008

Between 75 percent and 94 percent of Sderot children aged 4-18 exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress, says Natal, the Israel Center for Victims of Terror and War.

Natal's study, set to be released in the coming days, was based on a  representative sample. The study found 28 percent of adults and 30 percent of children in Sderot have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study was conducted by Dr. Rony Berger, director of Natal's Community Services Department, and Dr. Marc Gelkopf, with the assistance of pollster Dr. Mina Tzemach.

The town of Sderot and the western Negev as a whole have been subjected to barrages of rockets launched by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip for over seven years.

Berger emphasizes the distinction between post-traumatic stress symptoms, such as problems sleeping and concentrating, and PTSD itself, which can interfere seriously with daily life. Berger says the study found school-age children had severe symptoms of anxiety and pointed to a correlation between parent and child anxiety.

According to Prof. Muli Lahad, the director of the Mashabim Community Stress Prevention Center at Tel Hai Academic College, evacuating children up to ages 11 or 12 without their parents will exacerbate post-traumatic symptoms.

Dalia Yosef, the director of Sderot's Hosen trauma center, says the number of children aged 1-6 identified as suffering from anxiety and in need of long-term treatment is rising. She said that as of last May, of 305 children in this age group who were identified as suffering from anxiety, only 30 percent needed long-term psychological treatment. The remainder received immediate treatment only.

In the last several months, more children have been in need of more extended care in order to prevent the development of PTSD. Since May, an additional 105 children, 70 percent of whom are now in need of extended psychological treatment, have been identified as suffering from trauma.

Yaron Ben Shimol, whose daughter Lior, 5, was injured on Friday when a Qassam rocket hit their neighbors' home while she was playing with their children, said she had been treated by a psychologist for anxiety before the incident. Lior is not alone: 120 children in Sderot are currently in long-term therapy for anxiety.

Yosef notes that some of the anxiety treatment being developed in Sderot and other communities near the border with Gaza focuses on the treatment of constant stresses, with no end in sight.

"It's a serious question - how do you treat and prevent post-traumatic stress when it is not 'post,'" she said. "We take existing models for treating stress and shape them for a situation where the threat does not pass. We work with parents on creating an environment for their child in which they continue to smile, to give love and to play, so that good, safe surroundings are created for everyone," Yosef said.

Yosef said that at Hosen, parents are given various tools to cope with anxiety, including breathing and relaxation techniques. The Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, meanwhile, has modified the Monopoly board game to allow players to "fire" Qassams, as a way of reducing stress. It is all aimed at dealing with the situation as a long-term, ongoing one.

Expert: Don't take the children alone

According to Prof. Muli Lahad, evacuating children up to age 11 or 12 without their parents will exacerbate post-traumatic symptoms. When children are left alone, far from their communities, they imagine horrible things
happening to their families left at home, he explained. The children are left with the feeling, fed by what they hear and see from the media, that everything has been destroyed, said Lahad.

"When the whole family is evacuated, the problems are much smaller, if we are talking about a short-term evacuation for rest and recuperation," he added.

According to research done by the Mashabim center in Upper Galilee communities after the Second Lebanon War, evacuation of an area under bombardment is not the top priority for residents, as is commonly thought. Most of those surveyed viewed preparation of bomb shelters as the responsibility of local authorities they take most seriously. Next in importance, respondents viewed as caring for the elderly and disabled, and then health services.

When asked about remaining in their communities without their children, the vast majority of Galilee residents were opposed.

"People who are not really interested in the effects of the evacuation are working thoughtlessly, and do not understand the price," said Lahad, who as a resident of Kiryat Shmona, lived the question himself.

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What causes the Gaza fuel shortage??

Next time you hear about the Gaza humanitarian crisis, remember this. Before you yell "Zionist propaganda" please look at the source - it is Maannews - a Palestinian news agency.
Palestinian health ministry accuses Hamas of looting Gaza Strip hospital's reserve fuel
Date: 06 / 12 / 2007  Time:  14:09

Ramallah - Ma'an - The Palestinian health ministry of the Ramallah-based caretaker government said on Thursday that "Hamas militias" have looted the fuel stores destined for hospital vehicles in the Gaza Strip.

A statement released by the health ministry said that fuel from the European hospital in the Gaza Strip had been stolen by the director of the hospital drivers to supply the Hamas-affiliated Executive Force.

The statement explained that the fuel reserve had been supplied by the ministry to enable the hospital to continue working for as long as possible.

The desperate shortage of fuel in the Gaza Strip has meant that gas stations have shut down and most cars are off the road as Israel continues its reduction of vital fuel supplies.

The Gaza Strip is completely dependent on fuel imports. Normally, hundreds of thousands of liters of fuel pass through the Israeli-controlled Nahal Oz checkpoint each day.

Since June, Israel has reduced deliveries to a trickle. The Israeli High Court upheld the fuel cuts in a ruling on Friday, defeating a petition by Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups, who argue that the cuts constitute collective punishment.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

NASA To Help Israel Develop New Smart Bombs

NASA To Help Israeli Military Develop New Smart Bombs

By Israel Zwick, CN Publications, January 16, 2008

Gaza City/Tel Aviv - Israel killed three Palestinian civilians in a botched strike Wednesday, while militants launched 42 rockets and mortars at the Jewish state, in response to bloody Israeli-Palestinian fighting Tuesday which left 18 Gazans dead.

Israeli troops in the West Bank also killed a senior leader of the radical Islamic Jihad, who had been on the 'wanted list' for years.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said the target of the botched strike was 'a vehicle carrying gunmen responsible for rocket launching,' but another vehicle was hit instead. Palestinian medical officials said three members of the same family were killed, among them an adolescent.

The circumstances surrounding the strike on the wrong vehicle were 'under operational investigation,' Major Avital Leibovich said. - Middle East News, January 16, 2008

Washington, DC, January 16, 2008 - As a result of the Israeli air strike in Gaza which killed three civilians, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration has agreed to team with Israeli military engineers to design a new "smart bomb" that will avoid such incidents in the future and drastically reduce the high toll of civilian casualties.  The new bomb will incorporate NASA technology for exploring remote planets and monitoring the physiology of astronauts on the space shuttle.

With the new bomb, an Israeli fighter pilot will not allow the bomb to drop until the target area is examined for civilians.  Instead the bomb will stop about 10 meters above the target and hover above with little propellers.  Then a metal sensor in the bomb will determine the densities of the metals below to ascertain whether there are any firearms present in the target area.  Then a calcium detector will determine the presence of human bones. Bone measurements will be taken and sent to the pilot for analysis by the onboard computer.  This will determine whether there are any women or children in the target area. When the pilot is convinced that there are no innocent civilians, women or children in the target area, then he will allow the bomb to hit the target.  Any pilot that violates these rules will be subject to disciplinary action.

It is hoped that the use of these new "smart bombs" will be able to reduce the toll of civilian casualties among the Palestinian population.  In the meantime, the Palestinian Arabs may continue shooting rockets and mortars at Israeli homes, schools, and businesses since Jewish lives aren't as important as Arab lives. The loss of innocent Jewish lives doesn't generate as much media interest.

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Israel asks UN condemnation of muder of Carlos Chavez and Sderot rockets

Israel asks UN to condemn terror attack
In letter sent to UN secretary-general, Jewish states demands Security Council condemn killing of South American volunteer in Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha by Palestinian sniper, rocket attacks on Sderot. Israel is entitled to defend itself against a military offensive, letter says
Yitzhak Benhorin
Published:  01.16.08, 07:31 / Israel News
WASHINGTON – Israel will not stand idly by as its citizens are under a constant attack, the Jewish state said Tuesday night in a letter handed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council president.

The letter condemned the killing of Ecuadorian volunteer Carlos Andres Chavez by a Palestinian sniper at Kibbutz Ein Hashlosa in southern Israel and the Qassam attack on Sderot, which included more than 40 rockets and lightly injured four people.
Israel called on the United Nations to condemn the incidents and the states which are members of the UN while aiding terror organizations.
Ambassador Danny Carmon, the deputy head of the Israeli delegation to the UN, said in the letter that while Israel remained committed to advancing the peace process and the understandings of the Annapolis peace conference, the Palestinian Authority did not meet its obligations.
 According to the letter, following Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the Jewish state expected the PA to control Gaza and prevent terror attacks. However, since Hamas took over the Strip in June 2007, more than 1,000 Qassam rockets and mortar shells were launched from the Strip towards Israel.
Israel is entitled to defend itself against a military offensive like any other country under Article 51 of the UN Charter, the letter said, adding that the Israeli delegation is constantly pressuring the UN to condemn all terror attacks and condemn countries helping terror organizations and violating their commitments according to international law.
According to the letter, which is also aimed at preparing the ground for the possibility of a wide-scale Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, violence continues and nothing is being done to halt terrorism or the support for it.
 The Israeli delegation to the UN has recently been filing a complaint following every terror attack or rockets fired at Israel.
Last week, a harsh complaint was submitted following the firing of two Katyusha rockets from Lebanon toward the northern Israeli town of Shlomi. In another incident, Israel protested the firing of a Katyusha rocket from the Gaza Strip to an area north of Ashkelon.

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INSS: No "Jewish State," No Settlement Blocs:"The King David Statement" and Bush's Developing Position


INSS: No "Jewish State," No Settlement Blocs:"The King David Statement" and Bush's Developing Position


Aluf Benn



During his visit to Israel this month, President George W. Bush laid out his updated approach to an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.  In a statement delivered at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Bush fleshed out his vision of "two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security," on the eve of negotiations over "core issues" between delegations of the two parties.


The declaration basically adheres to the lines demarcated by Bush in his "vision speech" of June 2002, but a closer look at the details reveals some development and changes in his positions in comparison with previous "vision" documents: the Aqaba Conference speech of June 2003, the letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of April 2004, and the Annapolis Conference speech on November 2007.

A review of these changes suggests that they reflect an American effort to present a more balanced position by opening up some distance from previous positions that were viewed by some as biased in favor of Israel, particularly by eliminating the expression "Jewish state," the implied reference to settlement blocs and the reservations about settling Palestinian refugees in Israel (all of which appeared in the letter to Sharon), and also by defining the point of departure for negotiations as "the end of the occupation that began in 1967" rather than UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.  Nevertheless, Bush left considerable room for maneuver that will allow give-and-take between the two sides in discussions on the three core issues – border, refugees and Jerusalem.


"Jewish State"

The question of Israel's character and identity came onto the political agenda following the breakdown of the peace process at end of President Bill Clinton's term of office and Israel's fears about Palestinian demands to implement the "right of return."  In his plan to end the conflict – the so-called "parameters" – Clinton spoke of "Palestine as the national home of the Palestinian people and the State of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people."  During Bush's presidency, Israel demanded American recognition as the "Jewish state."  The administration agreed and that position was first enunciated in Secretary of State Colin Powell's "Louisville speech" in November 2001.  President Bush himself declared America's commitment to Israel as a Jewish state in Aqaba, in his letter to Sharon, and at Annapolis.

However, in his King David statement, Bush reverted to the older Clinton formula and spoke only of a "national home."  The American commitment to Israeli security was separated and pronounced in another context.  That change apparently stems from the vigorous opposition of Palestinians and Arab states to recognition of a "Jewish state" after Israel raised the matter in the weeks leading up to the Annapolis Conference.  On the eve of his departure to Annapolis, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that "the point of departure for any negotiations with the Palestinians will be recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people."  Olmert also said that the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas and Salem Fayyad, "want to make peace with Israel as a Jewish state."  The Palestinian rejection of the concept of "Jewish state" seems to be grounded in two concerns: the implicit renunciation of the "right of return" and the future status of Israeli Arabs.



In his 2004 letter to Sharon, Bush spelled out more detailed principles for an "agreed, just, fair and realistic" resolution of the refugee problem, which, in his view, needed to found through the creation of a Palestinian state and "the settlement of refugees there, and not in Israel."  But in an interview to Israel's Channel 2 Television before his departure to the region as well as in a press conference at the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem, Bush spoke of the "right of return" as one of the core issues.  In so doing, he adopted Palestinian terminology for the refugee issue that raises strong objections in Israel.  In the King David declaration, Bush contented himself with a more ambiguous formula: "We have to look forward to the creation of a Palestinian state and of new international mechanisms, including compensation, to resolve the refugee issue."



In the King David statement, Bush repeated the position, first expounded in his 2004 letter to Sharon, according to which the border ought to be based on the 1949 Armistice Lines "with agreement modifications that will reflect the current realities."  However, he deleted the section in the letter that specifically referred to "existing Israeli population centers" as the embodiment of current realities, left that issue somewhat vague, and simply repeated the insistence that Israel needs to enjoy "recognized, secure and defensible" boundaries and the Palestinian state needs to be "viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent."


Source of Authority

Both the Annapolis Declaration and the King David statement reflect an American effort to stay away from the "sacred" declarations, agreements and concepts of the past.  These latest proclamations, for example, make no reference to Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 or to the Oslo Agreements, which all appeared in every previous political document (e.g., the Bush speech of 2002, the Roadmap, and the letter to Sharon).  On the other hand, Bush did stipulate this time that "the point of departure for negotiations on a permanent status agreement is clear – ending the occupation that began in 1967."  In doing so, he went beyond previous references to "the end of occupation," either as a step that will contribute to Israel's future wellbeing (as in the 2002 speech) or as one of the objectives of the process (as in the Roadmap).



In the King David statement, Bush referred to Jerusalem for the first time in his presidency but refrained from presenting a clear position and simply acknowledged that the political and religious concerns of both sides will make the discussions very difficult.  He probably did that to avoid a confrontation with American Jewish organizations that made their rejection of the division of Jerusalem their primary reason for opposing the Annapolis process.  Unlike his predecessor, Bush therefore did not elaborate a detailed plan or even stipulate general principles for the resolution of the Jerusalem issue.


Continued (Permanent Link)

Avigdor Lieberman leaves Israel government

This was expected...
Last update - 16:29 16/01/2008       
Lieberman blasts Arab MKs, pulls party out of government
By Mazal Mualem, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service
Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman announced his party's departure from the coalition Wednesday morning, saying the rightist party would not tolerate negotiations with the Palestinian Authority on the core issues of the conflict.
"We said clearly that if there would be negotiations on the core issues, we wouldn't be in [the government]," Lieberman told a press conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning.
Lieberman, who served as strategic affairs minister in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government, said peace talks must address the issue of transferring the Israeli Arab population to Palestinian control.
"From our point of view, the concept of land for peace is out of the question," said Lieberman. "The principle must be exchanges of territory and population."
The outgoing minister said a withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders would not bring peace or an end to terrorism. "You know what will happen the day after we withdraw to the 1967 borders?" asked Lieberman. "Israeli Arabs will request Palestinian citizenship, and will continue to receive social security payments from the State of Israel."
"They don't hide this - they say quite clearly that they will demand autonomy in the Galilee and the Negev, and will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state," he continued.
"Its not that we oppose the solution of two states for two peoples," said the Yisrael Beitienu chairman. "On the contrary, we support it - two states for two peoples, not a state and a half for one people and half a state for the other."
"We can't accept the assymetry of a Palestinian state without a single Jew, and Israel becoming a binational state with more than 20 percent minorities," he continued.
"Our problem is not with the Palestinians, it is with Israeli Arabs," he said. "[Israeli Arab MKs] Ahmed Tibi and Mohammed Barakeh are more dangerous than [Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled] Meshal and [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah, because they operate from within."
In response, Tibi accused Lieberman of being "worse than [Austrian far-rightist] Jorg Haider."
"A government without Lieberman is a government that is less bad," said Tibi. "He gives racists around the world a bad name."
Barakeh, for his part, urged Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to outlaw Yisrael Beiteinu. "Lieberman is not only a threat to peace but also to democracy," he said. "He is afflicted with a severe case of racist AIDS."
Olmert's associates pointed out Tuesday that even without Lieberman, the coalition would still have a stable majority of 67 MKs. Moreover, they said, it might be possible to bring new parties into the government, such as United Torah Judaism or even Meretz.
"Thank god we ridded ourselves from the biggest racist on the political spectrum," Meretz MK Ran Cohen said. "The government must take this opportunity to advance the peace process and remove illegal outposts."
In response to Lieberman's resignation, The Prime Minister's Office said that Olmert thanked Lieberman for his cooperation while he was in the government but made clear that there is no alternative serious to negotiations towards peace.
"In light of the diplomatic actions of late, differences in opinion with Lieberman and his party members led to his resignation from the government," the PMO said in a statement.
During the press conference, Lieberman also rejected the possibility that Yisrael Beiteinu would unite with the Likud party before the next elections.
Yisrael Beiteinu's resignation will now likely shift the focus to Shas, the other right-of-center party in the coalition, which has said it could tolerate negotiations on borders and refugees, but would resign immediately on orders of its spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, should Jerusalem be on the table.

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Israeli strike goes bad, kills civilians; Palestinian strike on target, injures civilians

Here's the news:

Three Palestinian civilians were killed Wednesday afternoon in an Israel Air Force strike that targeted a car east of Gaza City, as Qassam rocket fire continued to pound southern Israel.
Military sources confirmed that the dead were civilians. The sources said the strike targeted a car carrying a group of militants who had fired rockets at Israel, but that for an unknown reason the missiles hit a different car in the area.
Palestinian sources identified the dead as members of the Yazji family - Amar, Mohammed, and 14-year-old Amir.
The IDF said it had opened an investigation into the incident. The IAF has successfully reduced the number of civilians killed in air strikes from roughly 50 percent in 2002-2003 to 2-3 percent in 2007.
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired at least 28 Qassam rockets at southern Israel on Wednesday, causing damage to local kibbutzim but no injuries.
The rockets struck the Sderot area and south of the port city of Ashkelon. Two woman suffered from shock and were taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for part of the barrage, saying it was in response to Wednesday's killing of the group's top West Bank commander during an Israel Defense Forces operation near Jenin.
Meanwhile, business tycoon Arcadi Gaydamak announced plans Wednesday to evacuate Sderot teens aged 13 to 20 from the town over the weekend, in order to give them a break from the rocket attacks.
The barrage came a day after at least 19 Palestinians were killed Tuesday, including 15 militants, in IDF air and ground operations in the coastal territory.
Also Tuesday, at least 10 people were hurt when Palestinian militants launched a barrage of Qassam rockets and mortar shells at Israel in a day of fierce fighting in Gaza.
'I saw my daughter drenched in blood'
The father of a 5-year-old girl hurt when a Qassam hit their neighbor's Sderot home Tuesday vowed his family will not return to the city that has been repeatedly hit by rockets and mortar shells.
The girl, Lior Ben-Shimol, was at her neighbor's house playing with their children when the attack occurred. Her father and younger brother were in their adjacent home.
"Suddenly my wife called me, telling me there was a Color Red alert and that she does not know where to take cover," the girl's father, Yaron Ben-Shimol said, referring to the siren informing residents of an incoming rocket attack. "A second later I heard an explosion and saw a Qassam had hit the neighbor's house."
At the moment of impact, the girl had been playing with the neighbors' children aged 3 and 7, one of whom was also hurt.
"I ran to the neighbor's house and saw my daughter come to me drenched in blood," Ben-Shimol recounted. He said his daughter had already been given psychological help to cope with the stress of living under constant attack.
Ben-Shimol's father, Haim, is the chief of the Magen David Adom ambulance service in Sderot.
The father of the other child hurt in the attack, Shlomi Argon, was at work when the attack took place. "They called me telling me my home was hit," he said, his voice full of emotion, while tightly holding his younger son in his hands at the Barzilai Medical Center's emergency room in Ashkelon. The child was covered with smears of blood.
Unlike his neighbor, Argon vowed to stay in Sderot despite the attack.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Palestinian terrorists murder volunteer Carlos Chavez

Today a man who came to work in peace, to help realize the dream of an egalitarian socialist society, or perhaps just to have a new experience, was murdered by Arab snipers. His death was hardly noticed, it seems.

A few years ago Rachel Corrie came to Israel to defend terrorists from "Zionist aggressors." She was killed by accident while trying to stop a bulldozer from destroying a building used for smuggling or terror attacks. Her death was trumpeted all over the world as an example of Zionist mentality. We know who she is and what she looked like and why she claimed to have come to Israel. We knew all about her views of the oppressive and evil Zionists.

Today's victim was a righteous victim. He was murdered while planting potato seeds on a communal farm insider Israel. Carlos Chavez was not a reactionary imperialist warmonger illegal settler messianic fanatic - just a man growing food in a communal farm. For whatever reasons, he was planting potato seeds, not seeds of hatred.

For idealistic or frivolous or random reasons, Carlos Chavez came here to help us and be with us, and he paid for it with his life. It is wrong perhaps to ape the path of exploitation of his death for incitement and demonification as Rachel Corrie's "supporters" did. Perhaps there should be no demonstrations about Carlos, and perhaps there should not be any plays about Carlos. Perhaps Carlos was just a fellow looking for an interesting way to spend a few months of his life. Perhaps that is not as praiseworthy as the ideal of helping terrorists. But at least, we should honor our friend who came in peace and died in our war.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Palestinian Arabs insist on right of return

Palestinian Arabs of all political persuasions unequivocally rejected the proposal of compensation for refugees of the Israel War of Independence, according to an article in Asharq al Awsat. Palestinians insist on right of return, which would destroy Israel as the national home of the Jewish people:

The proposal by US President George Bush during his visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories of laying down an international mechanism to compensate the Palestinian refugees has aroused Palestinian reactions that could be described as homogenous in their content, whether at the official, unofficial, or opposition levels. The Palestinian stance can be summarized by saying that this proposal if it indicates anything, it does indicate an attempt to bypass the resolutions of the international legitimacy, especially Resolution 194, which gives the refugees the right to choose between return and compensation for those who do not want to go back.

Nimr Hammad, political advisor to Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (Abu-Mazin), told Asharq Al-Awsat, "What President Bush said expresses his viewpoint." Hammad added: "We do not believe that the solution is to shrink the international resolutions, including Resolution 194 for which the United States have been voting all the past years, and consider them as nonexistent. There is a resolution and a right that have to be taken into consideration. The formula agreed upon and ratified at the Arab, Palestinian, and even US levels is that of an agreed and negotiated settlement based on Resolution 194. Here I am also talking about the Arab initiative, the Road Map, and UN Resolution 1515, which was sponsored by the United States." Hammad concluded by saying: "Perhaps through this proposal President Bush is trying to convince the Israelis and attract them to the negotiations' table."

Moreover, Azzam Al-Ahmad, leader of Fatah parliamentary bloc, told Asharq Al-Awsat, "An international resolution ought to be taken as a whole and not in a piecemeal way." Al-Ahmad considers the proposal: "This is a deviation from Resolution 194 to which all ought to adhere." Al-Ahmad pointed out, "The resolution refers to the public right upon which the PLO can now decide, and to the private or individual right which is superseded by the public right. However, it will remain the right of every Palestinian refugee to demand this right individually." According to Al-Ahmad, similar discussions took place in the Camp David negotiations in July 2000, in which late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Baraq participated, and which were sponsored by former US President Bill Clinton.

Yahya Musa, deputy chairman of the Hamas bloc in the Legislative Council, considered, "with this proposal, Bush is trying to erase history and the international resolutions for the benefit of his jelly-like and ambiguous vision." Musa added that with this proposal of his, Bush was exploiting the circumstances to direct the issue in a way to serve his aims and beliefs, and to support Israel.

Sami Abu-Zahri, Hamas spokesman, said that Bush's proposal, by talking about compensation only, represented an abolition of the right to return, and a deviation from the resolution that gave the refugees the right to return to their homes from which they were expelled. Abu-Zahri added: "This proposal reflects Bush's stances toward the other principal issues, such as Jerusalem. He talks about amending the borders, and supporting the annexation of settlement blocks, which means usurping the Palestinian rights." "All this," according to Abu-Zahri, "emphasizes his stance, which he declared on his arrival in Tel Aviv, namely confirming the Jewishness of the State of Israel,"

Jamil Majdalawi, chairman of the Refugees Committee at the Legislative Council, described Bush's proposal as an attempt to wriggle out of Resolution 194, and to empty it of any content. Majdalawi, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said, "The basis of Resolution 194 is the right of the refugees to return to their homes from which they were expelled by force. As for the compensation, it is a completion of this essence of the resolution, and it is offered to anyone who does not want to return." Majdalawi continued...

Of course, on that basis, there cannot be any peace or any agreement.

Ami Isseroff


Continued (Permanent Link)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Human rights in Iran

See also the HRW report on the crackdown on dissent in Iran: 
Ami Isseroff

A blind eye to barbarism
For three decades, Iran has systematically violated its citizens' basic human rights. Now it must be held accountable

Fariba Amini

January 13, 2008 4:00 PM |
Fifteen years ago, while visiting Iran, I went home to my parents' place in Bagh-eh Ferdos, a neighbourhood near Tajrish in northern Tehran, where we had lived up until we moved to the US. After the revolution, my parents had sold our house and had moved into an apartment on the same street. I had fond memories of Bagh-eh Ferdos, where I spent much of my youth in the nearby park sitting on the benches or just strolling in the park. The first thing I remember when I went back, walking in the same neighbourhood, was that people did not look happy, that their faces were gloomy.

We were outside the apartment and I, insufficiently aware of my surroundings, didn't have my hejab on right. A family member noticed and warned me. I guess I had not realised that in an Islamic Republic, you could be taken to jail and given lashes if you are not well covered. One day that summer a friend came over, shaken. She had just witnessed the shooting of a young woman in a telephone booth because she had defied the orders of a revolutionary guard. Later that day we learned that the young woman was taken to the hospital where she died of her wounds. I will never forget that incident in Tajrish square where my friends and I used to gather in cafes or just around the corner to mingle. It was a different ambience and a different time.

This has been the story of Iran since 1979, on and off, with violations of human rights fluctuating between bad, worse and terrible. It is written that all individuals are created equal to enjoy their basic rights when they are born. In Iran, often for no apparent reason, the authorities have rounded up people from their private homes, stopped them in public and taken them into custody, thus denying citizens their most basic individual rights. Whether it has involved young men and women holding hands in public, or those going to parties or gathering in public meetings, this was the norm in the years following the revolution.

In many instances, individuals have been subject to interrogation, arrest, torture and even murder for the way they thought, the way they expressed their opinions or just their mere appearances. Since the beginning of this year alone, at least 23 people have been executed. Three events stand out since the inception of the Islamic Republic: the execution of the Shah's close associates without any trial, the mass murder of 4,000 political prisoners in Evin prison and the 1998 serial murders of a number of prominent public figures. Today, to the dismay of most Iranians, this trend continues.

In 539 BC, the Achaemenid King Cyrus guaranteed freedom of religion and the absence of oppression for his subjects. Some scholars consider this to be the first declaration of human rights in history. The cylinder now lies in the British Museum, and a replica is kept at the UN. It is shocking to note that this guarantee has rarely been observed in Iran, and certainly not under the Islamic Republic.

Moreover, it is ironic that the government which was supposed to create heaven on Earth through equality, fairness and piety, has done the very opposite. There is something terribly wrong with a society in which individuals who harbour ideas and opinions going against the status quo are incarcerated, in which those who want justice in the eyes of the law are targeted in the harshest ways and in which a young doctor who goes to finish her medical internship in a rural area ends up being arrested for "bad behaviour" and, following her incarceration, ends up dead. There is something very disturbing when the founder of the Society to Defend Prisoners' Rights and a prominent journalist is taken to jail yet again and after suffering two heart attacks continues to be held in prison.

There are many societies where human life has no meaning, is worthless, where life is taken as easily as it is made. In 1948, the UN declaration of human rights was adopted by 58 nations. "The right to life, liberty and personal security recognised in Article 3, sets the base for all following political rights and civil liberties, including freedom from slavery, torture and arbitrary arrest, as well as the rights to a fair trial, free speech and free movement and privacy." Sixty years later, we are witness to many violations to this charter, to the wholesale abuse of human rights, in every part of this globe. Even the US is now condoning and practicing torture against prisoners of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Report: almost half of foreign terrorists in Iraq from Saudi Arabia

This is from a Saudi newspaper, as reported in Al Hayat. Not "neocon Zionist" propaganda.  

'246 Saudis Slipped into Iraq in 2 Years.'       
Monday, 14 January 2008 
Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH - Data seized by US forces in Iraq reveal that 246 of 600 foreign militants smuggled into the country for so-called jihadist operation over the past two years were from Saudi Arabia, the Arabic daily Al-Hayat reported. The militants were reportedly smuggled across the Syrian border to join insurgents in Iraq fighting to establish the so-called "Islamic state of Iraq."
The report said most of the volunteers were recruited from their home countries through contacts in mosques and universities or at the workplace. Some were reportedly recruited in Makkah during the Haj or via the Internet.

The paper attributed the information to forms confiscated by the US army some time ago during military raids on militant sites in Iraq. The forms contained the full names of the recruits, telephone numbers of their relatives and friends who enlisted them, names of the persons in Syria who received them on arrival, and the names of those who helped smuggle them into Iraq.
Citing the confiscated documents, the paper said that as soon as the recruits arrived in Syria, their personal effects were taken away and labeled as "contributions."
The recruits were then asked to select the mission they wished to carry out in Iraq. They had only two options: to be "martyrs" - terrorist terminology for suicide bombers - or militants.
Most recruits from the Maghreb countries took the first option while a large number of those from the Arabian Peninsula opted for the second, the paper said.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Abbas ready for unity deal with Hamas over US objections

The interesting remarks are:
He [Abbas] said if Hamas relinquishes power in Gaza, he will begin talks with the Islamic militants, "even if the Americans reject that."
Where will that leave Israel after making concessions to Abbas?
Ami Isseroff
Abbas: Negotiations on core issues to begin Monday
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST  Jan. 13, 2008
At their next meeting, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will begin tackling the core issues that need to be resolved for a peace treaty, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced Sunday.
During a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas said that teams headed by ex-Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will begin discussion of six issues: Jerusalem, Israeli West Bank settlements, Palestinian refugees, borders, security and water resources.
"If we reach an agreement on all these issues, then we can say that we have reached a final agreement," Abbas said, adding that a peace treaty must resolve disputes over all the issues.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev confirmed that the negotiating teams would meet Monday, and that they received a mandate to begin discussions on the core issues.
Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to restart peace talks, frozen during seven years of violence, at a US-sponsored Mideast peace conference in November. Last week, before the arrival of US President George W. Bush, they told their negotiating teams to get down to discussing the core issues. Previous negotiations have broken down over these topics, as so far neither side has been willing to compromise enough to satisfy the other.
Olmert and Abbas pledged to make efforts to reach a peace accord this year, before Bush leaves office.
In his speech Sunday, Abbas said, "We told President Bush that we can't move ahead in negotiations while settlement activities are going on. We can't have negotiations while they are building houses all over."
Abbas criticized the Hamas-led Gaza regime for allowing rockets to be fired into Israel but said the rocket fire hurts the Palestinians more than they Israelis, who keep demanding that Abbas take action to stop it.
He said if Hamas relinquishes power in Gaza, he will begin talks with the Islamic militants, "even if the Americans reject that."

Continued (Permanent Link)

Bush: Iran- leading sponsor of world terror - threat to world security

Bush: Iran threat to world security     
George Bush, the US president, has described Iran as the "leading state sponsor of world terror" that must be confronted "before its too late".
Speaking in Abu Dhabi on the last day of his four-day tour of the Middle East, the US president accused Tehran of undermining peace in Lebanon, sending arms to the Taliban, defying the UN and destabilising the entire Middle East.
"Iran is today the world's leading state sponsor of terror. It sends hundreds of millions of dollars to extremists around the world while its own people face repression and economic hardship at home," Bush said on Sunday during a speech on the third stop of his tour of Arab allies in the Gulf.
"Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere, so the United States is strengthening our long-standing security commitments with our friends in the Gulf and rallying friends around the world to confront this danger before it is too late."
Bush tried to appeal directly to Iranians saying they had a  right to live under a government "that listens to your wishes".
'Rich culture'
"To the people of Iran, you're rich in culture and talent. You have the right to live under a government that listens to your wishes, respects your talents and allows you to build better lives for your families," he said.
"Unfortunately your government denies you these opportunities and threatens the peace and stability of your neighbours."
The attack on Iran was accompanied by praise of "democratisation efforts" in the Gulf and he has begun his speech by calling on Palestinians to reject "extremists".
Although he did not mention Hamas by name, observers regarded his remarks referred to the the group currently in control of the Gaza Strip.
"This new era is being built with the understanding that power is a trust that must be exercised with the consent of the governed," Bush said during what was the keynote speech of his four-day tour of the Middle east in the opulent Emirates Palace hotel.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Olmert discovers the outposts

It states:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, speaking before the government on Sunday, said it was a disgrace that Israel hasn't taken action on unauthorized West Bank outposts, according to a participant in the meeting.
This is strange. Who is in charge of the government? It is like a guy who says, "It is really disgraceful the way I beat my wife [WHACK!]. Really terrible, isn't it?
Ami Isseroff
Last update - 16:21 13/01/2008       
PM: Presence of W. Bank outposts is a 'disgrace'
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent and The Associated Press and Haaretz Service

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, speaking before the government on Sunday, said it was a disgrace that Israel hasn't taken action on unauthorized West Bank outposts, according to a participant in the meeting.
Under the U.S.-backed road map peace plan of 2003, Israel promised to take down about two dozen of the outposts settlers erected across the West Bank in an attempt to prevent land from being ceded to the Palestinians.
A Peace Now spokesperson told Israel Radio that "since Olmert took office, not a single outpost has been dismantled. Olmert should stop acting like a commentator and start taking action against illegal outposts."
At a news conference with Olmert in Jerusalem last week, U.S. President George W. Bush said that after four years of promises, Israel ought to take action.
"Look, I mean, we've been talking about it for four years," Bush said. "The agreement was, 'Get rid of outposts, illegal outposts,' and they ought to go."
Settlers started putting up outposts across the West Bank after Israel reached its initial peace accords with the Palestinians in the early 1990s, in an effort to break up territory the Palestinians want for a future state. More than 100 outposts - some no more than a hilltop trailer, but others thriving communities of hundreds of people - were built without official authorization.
The road map obliges Israel to take down those erected after March 2001. The government maintains there are about two dozen outposts built after that date. Peace Now puts the number around 50.
Just weeks after taking office in January 2006, Olmert sent police to tear down nine unauthorized homes in the Amona outpost. But violent clashes ensued there between police and settlers, and in the two years since, he has taken no serious action against the outposts.
Right-wing members of Olmert's coalition and settlers oppose any action against the outposts, making the issue extremely sensitive at a time when the prime minister is trying to hold together his coalition and make peace with the Palestinians. Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman will meet with Olmert Monday and is expected to tell him he may resign over negotiations with the Palestinians.
Dichter: Agreements with PA should go through Kadima first
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter called on Sunday for agreements under discussion with the Palestinians to go through internal Kadima hearings before going into effect.
"An orderly discussion should be held in Kadima institutions before reaching any framework agreement with the Palestinians," Dichter told the party's ministers.
Dichter added that "it is forbidden to reach such an agreement before the implementation of stage one of the road map. We must demand that the Palestinians establish a chain of law enforcement in West Bank territory."
In additional to Israel's road map commitment to halt settlement construction and dismantle outposts, the Palestinians are required in the first stage to boost their security forces to fight terror.
Olmert said at the onset of the cabinet meeting on Sunday that U.S. President George Bush, who visited Israel and the West Bank last week, accepts that "no agreement will be implemented in the field without the fulfillment of Palestinian commitments, both in the West Bank and in Gaza."
Olmert also said that Bush said that "though there is one year left in the president's term, I think that even in his last year, he has enormous and extraordinary weight."

Continued (Permanent Link)

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