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Friday, February 15, 2008

Who killed Imad Mughniyeh?

Here is another theory about who killed Imad Mughiyeh. It is a Lebanese theory, so they blame Syria.  It is a valuable article because of the list of Mr Mughniyeh's exploits as a "Militant." However we should keep in mind that one newspaper wrote that he died in a "work accident" and another wrote that he is still alive, and if he is dead, then he died a natural death. Some bloggers in the U.S. repeated this gossip.
I am sure that someone will write that he was really an agent of the Mossad named Morgenstein. He wasn't of course, but it is not more absurd than 9-11 theories that blame Israel or the United States, or the Hamas charter that blames the Zionists for the French revolution.
Mughniyeh died because he ate ful. This caused him to pass air and unfortunately for him, someone lit a cigarette. Mughniyeh died from a car bomb. In that neck of the woods, it is considered "death by natural causes."
Ami Isseroff

Syria Killed Imad Mughniyah!!
By: Elias Bejjani

February 16/08

"The world is a better place without this man in it. He was a cold-blooded killer, a mass murderer and a terrorist responsible for countless innocent lives lost," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. "One way or another, he was brought to justice.")

(News Agencies: Wednesday, February 13, 2008: "Imad Mughniyah, a senior but shadowy Hezbollah commander accused by the United States and Israel of masterminding suicide bombings, hijackings and hostage-takings that spanned 25 years, was killed by a car bomb in the Syrian capital of Damascus, the Shiite Muslim group and other officials said Wednesday. Hezbollah accused Israel of carrying out the attack on Mughniyah, a charge that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office denied. A USA State Department spokesman welcomed the news of Mughniyah's death, but said he did not know who was responsible for it.

Who is Imad Mughniyah and what kind of murders did he commit. Below are some of these notorious crimes:

*April 1983: suicide bomber rams van packed with explosives into the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people, including 17 Americans.

*October 1983: suicide attackers carry out near simultaneous truck bombings against barracks of French and U.S. peacekeeping forces in Beirut, killing 241 American Marines and 58 French paratroopers.

*March 1984: Lt. Col. William F. Buckley, CIA station chief in Beirut, kidnapped and eventually killed in the beginning of a spate of kidnappings linked to Hezbollah.

*March 1985: Associated Press chief Mideast correspondent Terry Anderson kidnapped and then held for more than six years.

*June 1985: Lebanese Shiite militants hijack TWA Flight 847 heading from Athens to Rome, flying it back and forth between Beirut and Algiers. At Beirut's airport, the hijackers shoot U.S. Navy diver Robert Stetham, a passenger on the plane, and dump his body on the runway. Most of the 150 passengers were freed during the three day hijacking; some were held for two weeks. The United States indicted Mughniyah for his role in the hijacking, and he was put on FBI's most wanted list with a $5 million bounty for information leading to his capture.

*March 1992: A pickup truck packed with explosives smashes into the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 29 people.

*July 1994: A van packed with explosives levels a seven-story Jewish center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people. Argentina issues an arrest warrant for Mughniyah in 1999.
When I learned about the assassination of Imad Mughniyah, the most prominent Hezbollah (Party of God) Military notorious terrorist, the name of one world-wide criminal perpetrator, and only one, hit my mind, and spontaneously and unconsciously, I said to myself, Syria is behind this well executed deadly car explosion. I am sure many Lebanese citizen who are unbiased, well informed and has been following thoroughly the unfolding events in their oppressed Lebanon since 1975, share with me this hunch and gut feeling.
Why is Syria behind this assassination? simply because its intelligence bureau's criminal tactics, patterns, and styles have become over the years a trade mark, and  always carried its patent when ever, and where ever, a crime of this category occurred either in Lebanon or Syria.  For the past thirty years the Syrian Baathist dictatorship has been exercising this style of ruthless execution and elimination against many individuals all over the Middle East, and specially in Lebanon, with very high professionalism, advanced technology and precision in hitting its designated preys and targets.
These Syrian tactics have been used with numerous well reputed fundamentalists and terrorists, political leaders and national symbols, especially in Lebanon. Meanwhile, Syria has been breeding in its incubators new brands terrorists, and harboring tens and tens of terrorists and fundamentalists, as well as Mafioso and criminal organizations of the same cut.

The Syrian intelligence bureau's personnel were trained in the communist USSR Russia by the KGB. Accordingly they adopted all of the bloody Stalinist, repressive and totalitarian mentality, styles, spirit, and criminality patterns.
The Syrian regime is well known in breeding and granting asylum to regional and world wide terrorists and fundamentalists. It uses and abuses them in its dirty and bloody atrocities of  murder, assassination, bombing, defamation and sedition, and always under false and fraudulent religious and nationalism tags. It exploits them in execution of these criminal missions in Syria itself, in neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, as well as in numerous Arab states, Europe, USA and other countries all over the world and as needed. Syria's criminal record in this domain is well known to the whole world. 

After they have been used and exposed, these terrorists and fundamentalists become a heavy burden on the Syrian dictator and on its intelligence bodies, so Syrian security leadership tends to either eliminate them so all secrets are buried with their coffins, or exhibits them for trade and sale in the world-wide secret intelligence bodies, mutual services and barter. This  manner of Syrian unethical, slavery and unlawful intelligence trade has been going on actively for the last thirty years with many countries including the USA, Canada, Europe, numerous Arab countries and many others.
Syria hosted, financed and supported the Kurdish Abdullah Ojlan, leader of the Kurdistani Workers' Party, and even erected a military camp for his men in the Lebanese Bekaa valley (Syria at that time was occupying Lebanon), Then it traded him with Turkey and was handed over in a very mean and tricky manner to the Turkish intelligence.
The same pattern was followed with the well known terrorist, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, commonly known as "Carlos the Jackal,", who after using him was handed over to France through Sudan and again in a conspiracy style.
Some Japanese Red Army members (The terrorists who committed the deadliest attack on May 30, 1972 at Israel's international airport at Lod when three Japanese Red Army members carried out a machine gun and grenade attack in the arrivals terminal that killed 25 people--most of them Christian pilgrims--and injured another 1980.) were given by Syria secretive asylum in Lebanon for a while and then Syria handed over to Japan, and the list goes on and on.
 In Lebanon the Syrian record in this kind of  venomous conduct is full of leaders, politicians and intelligence names, among which is its Christian ally, Elie Hbaika, who was assassinated in car explosion that was typical to Imad Mughniyah's killing style.

Since it was forced to withdraw its occupational army from Lebanon in 2005, the Syrian regime has assassinated many Lebanese politicians, MP's, Army and security high rank officers and intellectuals in the same Mughniyah's pattern. With cold blood Syria, blatantly has committed almost all the organized crimes of assassination that targeted Lebanese opposition figures since 1965  (who opposed the Syrian tutelage over Lebanon from all walks of live and religious denominations).
The Irony lies in the fact that Mughniyah was assassinated in the Syrian capital, Damascus, in a highly rated Syrian Security suburb that hosts intelligence headquarters, an iranian school and other governmental official offices. A reality that leaves many unanswered suspicious questions all revolving around the Syrian asseted role in the assassination scheme. One wonder, who can execute such a sophisticated military mission in such a suburb except the Syrian regime itself? The majority of unbiased observers strongly emphasize that the Syrian intelligence is behind the assassination.
Why Syria killed Mughniyah in Damascus and not in Lebanon? Is it because President Assad did not want to take any risks and wanted him dead no matter what due to the fact that he knew too much that made him a real threat to the Syrian regime, or did Syria eliminate him in accordance to secret deal with one of the many countries that have been chasing the man for years to put him on trial for terrorism acts? Some suggest that Syria killed him to help solidify the power of a pro Syrian Hezbollah leadership wing against an Iranian on!!
Some have even suggested that Syria through this assassination intended to tell the Hezbollah leadership that they are reachable targets in case they refrain from continuing to be fully subservient and submissive to the Syrian decision making Intelligence process.!!
Those who know the Syrian regime and are well knowledgeable with its criminal record as well as with its fascist tactics cannot exclude any of the above scenarios and assert that No one can move that freely in Damascus to commit such a magnitude military mission except the Syrian secret intelligence itself.
We strongly believe strongly that the whole free world has an ethical, strategic, peace and safety obligation to topple the Syrian axis of evil regime and by military means and dismantle the terrorist Hezbollah as soon as possible. The more the free world postpones this costly mission, the more the Syrian regime and Hezbollah will continue to spread terrorism and fundamentalism not only in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Gaza, but all over the world.

Before he sold himself to the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis of evil and betrayed his own people, Lebanese MP, General Michael Aoun advised the USA on means of dealing with the Syrian regime. I can not but reiterate what he said. Below is a verbatim excerpt from Aoun's TESTIMONY  in front of the USA HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS on September 18/2003

"Terrorist organizations do not stand on their own in terms of identity; instead, they are proxies to regimes that provide them with financial means and an operational framework for their terrorist activities. The suggestion heard in some circles that these regimes can be charged with the task of dismantling terrorist organizations is the height of naiveté and folly. Furthermore, let's not forget that the clandestine nature of these regimes and organizations would allow them to quickly and easily restructure and reemerge under completely new aliases, ready to resume operations in full capacity. Any perceived cooperation in the war on terrorism does not represent a strategic choice on the part of the Syrian regime to combat terrorism; it is only a tactical and temporary ploy to dodge responsibility for the central role that Syria has had in sponsoring terrorism during the last three decades. Let us not forget that Syria's proxies in Lebanon were responsible for attacks against the American embassy and the Marine compound costing hundreds of Lebanese and American lives. Second, Syria's occupation has turned Lebanon -- a nation that once enjoyed democracy and freedom -- into a puppet-regime subservient to a dictatorship"

Elias Bejjani
Chairman for the Canadian Lebanese Coordinating Council (LCCC)
Human Rights activist, journalist & political commentator.
Spokesman for the Canadian Lebanese Human Rights Federation (CLHRF)

LCCC Web Site
CLHRF Website

Continued (Permanent Link)

Hamas fires at Egyptians to prevent resealing of the border

What this Egyptian source do not you is that Egyptian security forces knew that Hamas was preparing to breach the border for months and did nothing about it. Israel does not object to Palestinian Authority control of the border. Israel does object to Egypt using their incompetence as an excuse for a dangerous troop build up.
Hamas fires at Egyptian builders to prevent new wall
By Abdel-Rahman Hussein Daily News Egypt.
  First Published: February 13,

CAIRO: Hamas fired shots over the heads of Egyptian workers building a new wall on the border between Egypt and Gaza Tuesday night, sources in the area told Daily News Egypt.

Egypt has commissioned a new wall to be built of concrete in place of the existing barb wire wall to prevent more breaches like the one that occurred last month.

North Sinai Tagammu party member Hussein El Qayem said that the new concrete barrier is being built to withstand explosives that were used to create the openings which allowed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to descend on the Egyptian side of Rafah.

No injuries occurred Tuesday night as Hamas fired over the workers' heads, causing them to flee El Qayem said.

"Sources in Gaza say that Hamas will fire at anyone attempting to build the wall unless the Rafah border crossing is reopened," he said.

Hamas has already begun dismantling the iron barrier that blocks off Gaza. There are two separate barriers between the border with a road running through them, one manned by the Egyptians and the other by the Palestinians.

Events on the border have seen Israel contemplate re-occupation of the Gaza strip, ruled by Hamas since June and there are some voices calling for complete annihilation of the group.

"We need to topple the Hamas regime. We need to liquidate its leaders without any artificial differentiation between those who wear explosive vests and those who wear diplomatic vests," said Tsachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Israeli Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

The situation on the border remains potentially explosive as the parties involved insist on their own vision concerning its future.

Violent breaches of the border wall last month had allowed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to enter the Egyptian side of Rafah after a total Israeli blockade had crippled Gaza.

The fallout of these events continue as Egyptian security forces search for Palestinians who have remained on the Egyptian side even after the breaches had been sealed up and the Rafah border crossing was closed.

Egypt is advocating an agreement for the Rafah border crossing which will see it supervised by the Palestinian Authority. Additionally Egypt wants to increase its troop deployment along the border, limited by an armistice agreement in 1979.

The US and Egypt are trying to convince Israel to accept the two proposals but so far there hasn't been a favourable response from Tel Aviv.

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Bashargrad committee to investigate Moughnieh mishap

This is an interesting effort:
An Iranian Foreign Ministry official said Friday a joint fact-finding team will be set up by Iran and Syria to probe into causes of Lebanese senior Hizbollah Commander Imad Mughniyah's assassination.

First thing that is interesting is that Iran is involved. Iran has consistently denied any connection with the efforts of Imad Moughniyeh to further the religion of peace. So why should they care?

They need a committee to find the causes? The cause was that the "militant" was in business to murder people for over twenty years, which made him a lot of enemies, because people don't like when a guy goes around killing people.  What did they expect should happen to such people? And why are they concerned. Isn't he in heaven having it on with 72 virgins?
The thing to be investigated, is what are the causes of Moughniyeh staying alive so long, and what are the reasons why Hassan Nasrallah and his friends are still alive and liberty. Don't they want their virgins? Isn't that what they tell their recruits? Why wait for the reward, when they can have it right now?
And what will the committee find and what will be done with its recommendations? Will they recommend that Hezbollah and Syria stop blowing up people and kidnapping people?
Ami Isseroff

Iran, Syria to form fact-finding team to probe into Mughniyah assassination
Tehran, Feb 15, IRNA - Iran news agency

An Iranian Foreign Ministry official said Friday a joint fact-finding team will be set up by Iran and Syria to probe into causes of Lebanese senior Hizbollah Commander Imad Mughniyah's assassination.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ali-Reza Sheikh Attar said in this week's Friday prayers congregation that the decision has been made following Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki's talks with Syrian officials.

Addressing Tehrani Friday prayers worshipers as a pre-sermon lecturer, Sheikh Attar said the joint fact-finding team will look into the root causes and dimensions of Mughniyah assassination so as to identify and name perpetrators of the dirty crime.

Mughniyah was martyred late on Tuesday in a car bombing in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

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Gaza Christian Youth Group Library Blown Up

"Unknown assailants" did this. I wonder who it might be. Add it to the murder of the Christian book store owner, trashing of churches and other expressions of brotherly love. Naturally, this will cause the Methodist church to boycott.... ISRAEL.
Unknown assailants blow up Christian Youth organization library in Gaza
Date: 15 / 02 / 2008  Time:  11:08

Gaza - Ma'an - Unknown assailants targeted the Christian Youth Organization's library in central Gaza City in the early hours of Friday morning, detonating explosives that razed it to the ground.

One of the library guards told Ma'an that at around 1 am more than 10 armed men broke into the library, overpowering the guards before taking them to the Ash-Shaja'eyah neighborhood of Gaza City. They then returned and blew up the library.

The Christian Youth Organization provides many activities for young people in Gaza, as well as a kindergarten for Muslim children.


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Urgent - Your help is required for Gaza campaign

**** URGENT ****
CAIR, the Islamist Lobby,  is calling on the faithful to save the Hamas regime in Gaza.

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/14/08) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling on imams nationwide to give time in their khutbas tomorrow to seek the community's help in completing a campaign to send 20,000 letters to Congress advocating an end to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

CAIR's 35 chapters recently achieved the initial goal of sending 10,000 letters to Congress on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
1 IMAMS should devote time in their khutbas to outline the crisis in Gaza and its negative impact on America, and to urge participation in the letter-writing campaign.
This letter contains a standard lie about "Israel's siege" of Gaza. Israel has no direct control over the Rafah boder. The Hamas regime is blockaded by international consent.
Those of us who care about peace in the Middle East and the safety of Israel, need to start our own campaign. If Imam's are going to be preaching at people to write in support of Hamas, Rabbis and Ministers who support Israel should be asking their congregations to write in support of peace and ending the Hamas reign of terror. Please write today and contact your rabbi, or minister ask them to include a special request in their sermon to counter the CAIR-Hamas campaign.
* Hamas presents a direct threat to Israel, to moderate Palestinians, and to Egypt, all allies of the United States.
* Hamas breached the border and invaded Sinai, It infiltrated thousands of terrorists into Sinai, planning to hit Israeli and Egyptian targets and to subvert the Egyptian government.
* The success of US policy in the Middle East depends on the success of the peace process. Hamas is opposed to the peace process.
* Hamas acts as a tool of the Iranian and Syrian governments, which are opposed to the peace process because they are opposed to the United States.
* Hamas is bent on destroying the US supported Palestinian authority and ending the peace process.
* US taxpayers have invested large sums in aid, including military aid, to the Palestinians and Egyptians. Those funds, and those weapons must not fall into the hands of a terrorist regime.
* CAIR, which has taken an initiative on behalf of Hamas, is supporting a terrorist group.

Sample letter:
Dear XXXX,
I am writing because I  care about peace and democracy in the Middle East and containing Islamist extremism. I am concerned about the deteriorating conditions in the Gaza strip. A terrorist regime has taken over the strip and is holding hostage 1.5 million Palestinians as well as the U.S. sponsored peace process. They are raining down rockets on Israel, a U.S. ally, and threaten to subvert another US ally, Egypt. They have instituted a regime that ignores human rights, rights of women and rights of religious minorities, and that has pledged to end the existence of the state of Israel in genocidal Jihad.  It is vital to continue the ostracism of this regime and to contemplate international action to remove the Hamas from control of Gaza.

The Hamas regime has been blockaded by the international community. They refuse to allow inspection of goods and persons entering and leaving Gaza by the EU or the legitimate Palestinian government supported by the United States. They have used civilians as hostages in a cynical and fabricated propaganda war to generate a virtual humanitarian crisis, holding "candlelight vigils" to be filmed by news photographers when bright neon lights were clearly visible in the background, alleging hunger and medical emergencies when none existed.
The CAIR group has taken an initiative in support of the Hamas regime. You may have received mail inspired by their campaign. I am disturbed that a US registered charity is allowed to publically support a terrorist group.
Please take initiatives that will help bring down the Hamas regime with minimum harm to the people of Gaza. Please support vigorous action to save the peace process and Palestinian democracy, to protect US allies and stop the spread of terrorism and Islamist extremism.



How  to find them
Your senators:  (this is the official one, less convenient)
President G.W.Bush

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
NW Washington, DC 20500.
Comments: 202-456-1111 Switchboard: 202-456-1414 FAX: 202-456-2461,

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 2052
(no public email)

Please write to public officials today and forward this mail.
Thank you.

Ami Isseroff

Continued (Permanent Link)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nasty Nasrallah declares war on Israel - again

Lebanese - prepare for another big victory.
"Nasty" Nasrallah is mad at Israel over the mishap met by "militant" Imad Moughniyeh. Moughniyeh was responsible for kidnapping of American civilians, attacks on U.S. Marines, the US embassy in Beirut, the Israeli embassy in Argentina, the Jewish center in Buenos Aires, and the kidnappings (on his birthday) that began the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Lebanese, remember well what Nasrallah said and mark it:
"The July war is not over, it is ongoing and no ceasefire was ever declared," Nasrallah said "The blood of Imad Mughnieh will contribute to the disappearance of the Jewish state."
Will there be a Nasrallahgrad report, condemning the Hezbollah leadership for their negligence in letting their chief terror honcho meet an accident?
Nasty Nasrallah is planning to bring you another victory like the one in 2006. Don't you want another victory? This will be an even bigger victory. Nasty Nasrallah will kill 250 Zionists. And we Zionists will not sit quietly either. If we killed over a thousand last time Nasrallah started a war, how many do you think we will kill this time?
In war, after all, one must act as in war.
Nasty's Mad
and I'm glad,
And I know what will please him,
A wad of gelignite
to make him right
And 72 virgins to squeeze him
Ami Isseroff

Hezbollah leader declares 'open war' on Israel
Thu Feb 14, 9:12 AM ET
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared "open war" on Israel in a fiery speech at the funeral Thursday in the Lebanese capital of a top commander killed in a car bombing he blamed on Israel.
"If the Zionists want war, then they shall have it," Nasrallah said in a speech broadcast at the funeral of Imad Mughnieh. "If you want an open war, then let it be an open war."
He added that the 2006 war between his militant group and Israel was not over and that his followers stood ready for combat.
"The July war is not over, it is ongoing and no ceasefire was ever declared," Nasrallah said "The blood of Imad Mughnieh will contribute to the disappearance of the Jewish state."

Continued (Permanent Link)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fair Witness Is Disturbed By Methodist "Mission Study"


A Press Release Distribution Service from Religion News Service
Wednesday, February 13, 2008


February 13, 2008

Contact: Sr. Ruth Lautt, O.P., Esq.
Christians For Fair Witness on the Middle East
(212) 870-2320

Fair Witness Is Disturbed By Methodist "Mission Study"

    Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East ("Fair Witness") is deeply disturbed by the profoundly unbalanced manner in which "Israel-Palestine: A Mission Study," published last year by the United Methodist Church, General Board of Global Ministries, Women's Division, depicts the conflict in the Middle East.

    According to Sr. Ruth Lautt, Fair Witness National Director, "the volume is so replete with factual errors, misrepresentations, material omissions and distortions that we have to question the intentions of the authors Revs. Stephen Goldstein and Sandra Olewine. As just one example, the Mission Study completely distorts the period and events leading up to the Six-Day War.  It blames the outbreak of war on  'Israeli aggression' while largely ignoring the historical record that Israel was defending itself after the collective Arab armies lined up on Israel's borders and vowed openly to annihilate the Jewish state."

    "Even more disturbing," says Rev. Dr. Archer Summers, Senior Minister, First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, California "is the blatant attempt to portray Jews and Israelis in as damning a light as possible.  The Mission Study engages in overt stereotyping of Jews as belligerent, inherently racist and vengeful and even resorts to exploiting the history of the Holocaust by portraying Israelis as so psychically damaged by this event that they are now indifferent to human suffering and seek to victimize non-Jews in a vengeful sort of manner."

    "As is the case in most situations of conflict, neither side is completely without blame here. The Methodist Mission Study, however, makes no attempt to present the facts and the history of this conflict in an honest or balanced way.  Our churches must make a serious effort to listen to all voices so that we can work cooperatively for peace, rather than merely condemning and attacking one side," adds Sr. Ruth.

    A full analysis of the Mission Study is now available on the Fair Witness website:

Here  and Here.

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French President Sarkozy to visit Israel for 60th anniversary

 Sarkozy says will visit Israel this spring for state's 60th anniversary 
 By The Associated Press
PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he would visit Israel to mark the 60th anniversary of country's establishment.
The trip will be his first visit to Israel since taking office last May.
Sarkozy did not give an exact date for his trip, but Israel traditionally celebrates the anniversary of its founding in May.
Speaking before one of France's leading Jewish organizations, the French leader said he would address the Knesset during the visit - which he said came in response to an invitation by President Shimon Peres, who visited Paris last March.
Sarkozy, who is seen as closer to Israel than his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, reiterated his pledges to stand by Israel.
France will always be at Israel's side, he told the audience of about 1,000 people at an annual event hosted by the Representative Council of Jewish Organizations in France, or CRIF.
Sarkozy also said he believed a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians is possible this year - but called both sides to make concessions.
He called Israeli settlements West Bank an obstacle to peace and urged the release of some Palestinian prisoners. He said the Palestinians need to continue to crack down on terrorism and reform their security services.

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Israel Military Intelligence: Hizbullah lost its number one figure

Military Intelligence: Hizbullah lost its number one figure

Reservist Military Intelligence officers tell Ynet of Imad Mugniyah's prowess as terrorist mastermind. Former Mossad chief Danny Yatom: One of most dangerous terrorists ever

Hanan Greenberg

Hizbullah lost its most important operative in the organization in recent years," a reservist Military Intelligence officer told Ynet on Wednesday in reference to the killing of senior Hizbullah military commander Imad Mugniyah in an explosion in Damascus.

"He was an expert in carrying out terrorist attacks and at the same time, he was an expert in maintaining a low profile and knowing, for 20 years, how to evade the many that tried to get him," the reservist officer added.

Senior IDF officers that served in Military Intelligence had a hard time hiding their satisfaction about the news that came in from Damascus – Mugniyah is not longer walking this earth. All were quick to point out that they were not familiar with the incident itself and that they were not inferring that Israel was responsible.

"He was wanted in many countries for many years so many people were trying to kill him," one of the officers said. "After every significant incident with Hizbullah, his name came up as the person that planned it or the creative head (behind the incident).

"There is no doubt that he was a significant force behind actions against Israel and his name was mentioned many times – also during the Second Lebanon War – primarily connected to the kidnapping of the two reservist soldiers," the officer added.

Scene of blast in Damascus (Photo: AFP)


Military Intelligence and other national security organizations do not hide the fact that various attempts were made to track Mugniyah's path. However, it appears that the arch-terrorist was well aware of his "popularity" in Israel and succeeded in using the strict compartmentalization of information among his associates to maintain a low profile.


'As important as Nasrallah'

Yoram Schweitzer, a senior research fellow at Israel's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), believes that Mugniyah's significance within Hizbullah was close to that of Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah's.

"Although Nasrallah is the leadership figure, political and very capable, and even though Mugniyah was an operational figure, he led tens of special missions and we shouldn't underestimate his position," Schweitzer said in a conversation with Ynet.


According to Schweitzer, Mugniyah appointed successors to take his pace in the future and thus his disappearance from the world won't leave his spot open for long. However, Schweitzer was quick to point out that the terrorist mastermind was a central Hizbullah figure responsible for a long list of terrorist attacks and his elimination was a major accomplishment.

MK Danny Yatom (Labor), who served as Mossad chief in the 90s, said that "Mugniyah was one of the most dangerous terrorist ever. He operated in complete secrecy and concealed his every action. He made sure that there was a high degree of compartmentalization around him.


"This was also the reason that it was hard to locate him…Mugniyah operated with full cooperation with Iranian intelligence. He was a very clever man," Yatom said.


Continued (Permanent Link)

Iran: Boycotts and Executions

Iran: Boycotts and Executions
on February 13, 2008
in Z word blog

Readers who watched the slice of the Iranian past here will be interested in this slice of the Iranian present.

According to an official Iranian radio report picked up by BBC Monitoring - unfortunately, available only to subscribers or those with access to Nexis - there is an exhibition of Israeli merchandise currently on display at Amir Kabir University in Tehran. Students are not, of course, being encouraged to purchase said merchandise. The purpose of the exhibition, apparently, is to "accustom the youth and the other strata of the society with the companies related in different ways to the Zionist regime or those that Zionists have invested in." And just in case the Amir Kabir students don't get the point, they can view a collection of photographs "showing the Zionist regime crimes in occupied Palestine" helpfully placed alongside.
However, it would seem that Amir Kabir students are concerned with matters of more immediate relevance. According to the AKI Agency, their own website carries details about a young journalist and student from the Baluchi minority, Yaghoub Mehrnahad, who has been sentenced to death by the Islamist regime. His trial is reported to have taken place "behind closed doors". Neither his lawyer nor his family were present.
This isn't the first time that Amir Kabir students have confronted the regime. Yesterday, they reported that Ramin Fattahi, a Sufi religious leader, had died in Evin prison as a result of kidney problems which were left untreated. And last month, three of their number were released from several months in prison after being found innocent of trumped-up charges which included "insulting Islam."

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Death of a terrorist: : Top Hezbullah terrorist Imad Mughniyeh killed in Damascus blast

Death of a militant!
According to WIkipedia,
Imad Fayez Mugniyah (also spelt Moughnieh) (Arabic: عماد فايز مغنية‎; born December 7, 1962 killed Feb 12, 2008 ) was a senior member of the Hezbollah militant organization. He is alternatively described as the head of its security section, a senior intelligence official and as a founder of the organization.
So it seems that Mr. Mughnieh was a "militant" - like sufragettes and the Salvation Army. Moughniyeh was apparently a chief ideologist and spirtual leader of the Hezbollah. He believed in blowing people up and kidnapping them - that was his religion and his ideology.
Imad Mughniyeh  (pronounced Mourrniyeh, spelled Moughnieh, Mugnieh...) was one of the worst "militants" (as Wikipedia calls them) to walk the face of the earth. He was responsible for involuntarilty shortening the lifespans ("murder" is not PC either) of numerous people, including Jews in Argentina and US marines and embassy personnel in Lebanon. He was probably involved in some way in the murder of Rafiq Hariri.
Israeli covert operations teams have refrained from hurting this paragon because of the clear possibility that Hezbollah teams based in Ciudad del Este and elsewhere in Argentina, or Hezbollah in Lebanon, would take revenge as they took revenge for the killing of a senior Hezbollah terrorist (ooops - MILITANT) when they hit the Jewish center in Argentina.
Moughnieh has a distinguished record as a terrorist (ooops - MILITANT) He is known to have been the mastermind behind the attacks against Jewish centers in Buenos Aires in1994, as well as the kidnapping of a TWA airplane in Lebanon in 1985 and the abduction of westerners in the country during the 1980s. Moughnieh was also most likely the man behind the bombing at the American embassy in Beirut in and the attack against the Marines headquarters in Lebanon in 1983, which killed over 200 Americans.
Today Moughniyeh has died, or perhaps it was yesterday. It appears that someone has decided to send Moughnieh to his reward. His career was terminated in a car bomb blast. It is unlikely to have been Israel, though Hezbollah automatically blamed Israel of course. It is not clear that Israel has covert operations abilities of that kind in Damascus. If they did, they would focus on other more urgent  targets such as Khaled Meshal who heads the Hamas, or Ramadan Shelah who heads the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Another report about the demise of Moughniyeh is here.
Is Israel really trying to send a message, or did the Syrian Army Intelligence decide that Moughnieh had outlived his usefulness? Perhaps he knew too much about the murder of Rafiq Hariri ?
Ami Isseroff 

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Seal found in Jerusalem excavations

Biblical Seal Discovered in City of David Excavations
Black Stone Seal Bearing the Name "Shlomit" Found in City of David Excavations
Jerusalem, February 6, 2008: A black stone seal, bearing the name "Shlomit" has been found in the Area G section of the third phase of the City of David excavations.  The unexpected find was reported on the front page of the Jerusalem Post on January 17, and was then thought to bear the name "Temech." Further scholarly review convinced Dr Mazar that the reading of the name be inverted to read "Shlomit." The seal may have belonged to Shlomit, the daughter of Zerubbabel, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:19. Zerubbabel was a grandson of Judean King Jehoachin and a leader of the first band of Jews returning from the Babylonian captivity. He helped lay the foundation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
The magnificent seal was found in stratified layers of debris uncovered for the first time by Dr. Eilat Mazar on behalf of the Shalem Center and The Ir David Foundation and conducted under the academic auspices of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The seal is elliptical, 2.1 x 1.8 cm.  On the surface is a scene engraved with two bearded priests standing on either side of an incense alter with their hands raised forward in a position of worship.  On top of the altar appears a crescent moon, the symbol of the god Sin, the chief Babylonian god.  Under this scene, inscribed are the Hebrew letters, ת מ ש ("Shlomit").  From the seal impression, the name appears as a mirror image which is a known phenomenon from other seals of this period.  It is likely that the seal was bought in Babylon and made commercially by a local craftsman who engraved a common and popular cultic scene.  Therefore, a large smooth space on the bottom of the seal was designated for a name to be added, be it long or short.  The cultic scene relates in origin to the Babylonian cosmic chief god Sin who was viewed as "the king of the gods in heaven and on earth", and seems not to have disturbed the Jews who used it on their own seal.
The discovery occurred under a tower, which was built during the time of Nehemiah and which Dr. Mazar found in a state of disrepair and ready to collapse.  Dr. Mazar and her team dismantled the tower methodologically in order to reconstruct it, and excavated the layers that were sealed for centuries by the tower's construction.  Both the tower and the city wall that is adjacent to it were erected very quickly along the eastern ridge of the top of the City of David as part of the reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem initiated by Nehemiah  in the 5th century BCE.  The Persian King Artaxerxes I (465 – 424 BCE) awarded Nehemiah the position of Governor of Judah in order to return to Jerusalem and repair the walls that were left in ruins after the destruction of the First Temple. 
The Book of Nehemiah describes in detail the construction process whereby Nehemiah proved his high skill in organization by putting many groups of builders alongside each other working on consecutive segments along the whole length of the wall.  They worked quickly in order to complete the work as soon as possible while under the threat of hostility and harassment from many surrounding enemies.  The renovation of the city wall and its gates were completed within an amazingly short time, 52 days only.  More than anything else, the construction enterprise that Nehemiah organized became a symbol for the determination and motivation of the returning Jewish exiles to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem in spite of threatening conditions: "They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon." [Nehemiah 4:17] 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]

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F--- Israel at "Palestine Awareness Week"

If you liked Hitler, you'll love Palestine awareness week at Wayne State Here's something from anti-recist blog .

Welcome to "Palestine Awareness Week" at the University of Michigan

Today marked the start of "Palestine Awareness Week" at the University of Michigan. The inaugural lecture was performed by anti-Israel Wayne State University anthropology professor Thomas Abowd. The theme of the event was supposed to be "Introducing Palestine", but the event instead focused on "demonizing and de-legitimizing" Israel.

Anti-Semitic Ann Arbor extremists were out in full force for the launch of the week's events.

 In Auschwitz, every week was "Palestine Awareness week."

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Is Israel building in East Jerusalem or not?

We build.
We build not.
We build.
We build not.
Every other day there is a story liked this one:
Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim denied Tuesday reports that the government is barring new housing construction for Jews in East Jerusalem, saying Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's order to freeze all construction that does not have his personal approval applies only to the West Bank.
On Monday, Jerusalem city manager Yair Ma'ayan told the Knesset Economics Committee that the government was holding up construction of hundreds of apartments in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem due to the negotiations with the Palestinians.
Someone is playing political games obviously and spreading disinformation, but what is true and what is not true? Is the Israeli government building in East Jerusalem or not? You be the judge....
Last update - 10:08 12/02/2008    
 Housing Min. denies delays in East Jerusalem construction 
By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and AP 

Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim denied Tuesday reports that the government is barring new housing construction for Jews in East Jerusalem, saying Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's order to freeze all construction that does not have his personal approval applies only to the West Bank.
On Monday, Jerusalem city manager Yair Ma'ayan told the Knesset Economics Committee that the government was holding up construction of hundreds of apartments in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem due to the negotiations with the Palestinians.
"There is no delay, limitation, or suspension of the construction of Jewish neigbhorhoods in East Jerusalem," Boim told Israel
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky also weighed in on the issue Tuesday, saying he "won't allow Jerusalem to be turned into an illegal outpost.
Following the Annapolis conference last fall, several media reports about ongoing construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem angered the Palestinians and Americans. In response, Olmert ordered all building in the settlements frozen, including those settlements that are part of the greater Jerusalem area.
But with regard to East Jerusalem, which was formally annexed to Israel in 1967, he merely ordered that he be kept informed of any building plans, and he recently promised Shas Party Chairman and Industry Minister Eli Yishai that there was no freeze on construction in the capital.
At Monday's Economics Committee meeting, however, Ma'ayan said that the Housing Ministry has postponed marketing 750 apartments in East Jerusalem's Pisgat Ze'ev neighborhood and another 150 apartments in the Har Homa neighborhood. In both cases, he said, the ministry told him that Olmert had not yet approved the projects.
Boim denied this, however, saying the tenders for the Pisgat Ze'ev construction were in the final stages of coordination with the Jerusalem Municipality, and that the tenders for Har Homa - which he said were for 360 units - would be published soon.
Dov Gal, deputy director of the Housing Ministry's Jerusalem District, also denied the report, saying there was no order that construction in East Jerusalem needed approval from the government.
But Ma'ayan said that Gal was behind the times - and several Knesset members said that Ma'ayan's statements had been confirmed to them by Boim himself.
Gal did confirm that he had been ordered to freeze construction in the settlements around Jerusalem, including Efrat, Gush Etzion, Givat Ze'ev, Adam and Beitar Ilit. MK Uriel Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party), who requested Monday's meeting, said that altogether, the Housing Ministry has halted marketing of some 2,300 apartments in and around Jerusalem.
In response, the Prime Minister's Office said that construction in East Jerusalem has not been frozen, but because of its diplomatic sensitivity, Olmert has asked to be informed of all building plans there, so that he will not be taken by surprise.
After the meeting, Ma'ayan told Haaretz that despite this directive, the municipality is moving forward with plans to build some 10,000 apartments in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, including Ramot, Ramat Shlomo, Pisgat Ze'ev, Neveh Ya'akov, East Talpiot, Har Homa and Gilo. The largest of these calls for building some 4,000 apartments in Givat Hamatos, in the city's southern section. That plan is currently being discussed by the regional planning and building committee.
Negative migration
Nir Barkat, who heads the opposition in the Jerusalem city council, told the Economics Committee that the capital continues to suffer from a negative balance of migration, in part because of soaring apartment prices. This conclusion was echoed in a study by the Knesset's research division that was presented to the committee on Monday.
The study also found that while all governments talk about developing Jerusalem, few actually do anything about it.
Barkat, who belongs to Olmert's Kadima Party, also asked Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to deny recent claims by Palestinian officials that Israel has already agreed to concessions in Jerusalem, including ceding the city's Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinians. Alternatively, if the reports are true, he demanded that she "reveal all the secret agreements on the floor of the Knesset."
Livni's media advisor, Gil Messing, responded that the minister does not comment on reports about her talks with the Palestinians, and therefore refused to either confirm or deny that the future of Jerusalem had been discussed.
But the Palestinian comments increased pressure on Shas to quit the government, as it has repeatedly pledged to leave the moment negotiations on Jerusalem begin.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Fair Witness' Rev. Dr. Peter Pettit Responds To Rev. Shafer's Ash Wednesday Message in the "Morning Call"

 On Ash Wednesday, the Rev. Eric Shafer published a guest editorial in the Allentown, PA newspaper, Morning Call (on line at  Rev. Shafer was at the time visiting in Jerusalem as a guest of Lutheran bishop Munib Younan and had arranged to have his Ash Wednesday sermon taped in Jerusalem and satellite-linked to his congregation in Lansdale, PA.  The editorial, timed to coincide with his media mini-event, ran under the title "God is on the Side of Peace in the Middle East."  Here is Rev. Dr. Peter Pettit's response to Rev Shafer's editorial:

Mind the Gap

Peter A. Pettit

8 Feb 08, for MCall publication 11 Feb 08 

I was deeply pained by Lutheran Pastor Eric Shafer's recent commentary on the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  I am a Lutheran pastor myself.  I have lived in Jerusalem and spent more than twenty years in regular dialogue with many people spanning the various communities who engage that conflict.  I was pained by the deep gap that separated Shafer's good intentions from the effect of his writing and the harm it could do when his readers fall into that gap. 

I was pained for the Palestinians he describes.  They indeed suffer hardships, at least as great as Shafer describes.  Few in the world can show such a sorry record of betrayal and manipulation, and there are few people around the world who know the whole of their story.  Shafer is right to inform us about their experience.   The gap opens up when he tells it as a story only of Israeli aggression and maltreatment.  The Palestinian leadership itself, as well as neighboring Arab states, European nations and the United States all share responsibility for the plight of the Palestinians.  For all of Israel's power, Israel cannot solve the Palestinian problem by itself, and I am pained when the Palestinians continue to be portrayed as mere pawns of other powers. 

I was pained for Israelis, whose total commitment to maintain their sovereignty and national existence was characterized as invasion, land grabs and the exile of another people.  Shafer says he admires what Israelis have done with their country in the past 60 years, but implies that they have done so only at the expense of Palestinians who lived on their lands "since the time of Christ" (really?). The gap opens up when there is no mention of the 1.2 million Arabs – Palestinians – who are full citizens of Israel.  It opens when the attacks of 1956 and 1973 by the Arab states, their war-mongering in 1967, and the two Palestinian Intifadas of the last 20 years are not counted with desert and climate and immigration and post-traumatic stress as hurdles that Israel has faced in its history.  For better or worse, Israel was granted existence by a decision of the United Nations, and I am pained when it is not granted the same rights of recognition and self-defense that other nations are. 

I was pained for Jews, who should have reason to believe that the season of Lent will no longer bring Christian accusations of causing the world's worst problems.  Pastor Shafer was traveling last week in Jerusalem as a guest of Palestinian Lutheran bishop Munib Younan.  His op-ed contribution was coordinated with his Ash Wednesday sermon, preached in Jerusalem and beamed by satellite back to his congregation in Lansdale.  The gap opens when no account is taken of the shameful Christian heritage of Jew-baiting and –bashing in the season that opens with Ash Wednesday and climaxes on Good Friday.  Too often the season brought violence against Jews at the hands of Christians.  For more than 40 years the Christian community has assured our Jewish neighbors that such violent abuse is a thing of the past, and I am pained when an eager plea for understanding Palestinian pain comes across as another Lenten broadside against Israel. 

I was pained for our Lutheran church.  Like most American churches, we have been traveling a long and difficult road that seeks to be faithful.  We have declared to the Jewish community our desire "to live out our faith in Jesus Christ with love and respect for the Jewish people."  We also bear a commitment to accompany our Palestinian Lutheran brothers and sisters in the reality of their circumstances and ministry.  Pastor Shafer's travel account and empathy for Palestinians reflect that accompaniment on church-sponsored visits to the region.  The gap opens when the church's advocacy for peace in coordination with Jewish and Muslim partners is not set alongside such accompaniment.  Our Presiding Bishop, Mark Hanson, has been a prominent leader in the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative, which implicitly accompanies all the religious and political communities who are invested in the conflict, guiding them together on a path toward peace.  For all our solidarity with Palestinian Lutherans, I am pained when their anecdotes of anguish are substituted for the serious analysis that any promising approach to peace will demand. 

Pastor Shafer points us to Lincoln's question about the side that God may be on.  The Lutheran heritage tells us that our greatest pitfall lies in too confidently identifying our side with God's side.  Ash Wednesday is a central occasion when that sin should be confessed and repented in ourselves.  Christian heritage tells us that God is found where pain is, and that godly living bears the pain of others.  In the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is too much pain on all sides, and a godly Christian response might first be to understand and help bear that pain with all those who suffer in the arena of violence. 

Peter A. Pettit is the director of the Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding of Muhlenberg College and a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Sr. Ruth Lautt, OP, Esq.

National Director

Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East

475 Riverside Drive, Ste 1960
New York, NY 10115

(212) 870-2320

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Anti-Semitism - Left or Right?

Anti-Semitism seems to be a product of the wingnuts - Left wing nuts and Right wing nuts. But European anti-Semitism seems to originate primarily with Europe's tiny Muslim community.

Antisemitism from the Left? Or from the Right?

Two stories from Italy over the last few days eerily demonstrate how the evangelical anti-Zionism of the far left can overlap with the unabashed antisemitism of the far right.

First, there was the blog taken down last Friday, on the orders of Italy's interior minister, which listed the names of more than one hundred Jewish and non-Jewish academics accused of lobbying for "the Zionists." The same blog included links to Holocaust denial sites, glorifications of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and other unwholesome material.

Second, there were widespread calls for a boycott of the Turin International Book Fair this coming May, because of plans to honor the 60th anniversary of Israel's creation. Among those calling for a boycott are the Islamist intellectual Tariq Ramadan, Mohamed Salmawy, the President of the Egyptian Writer's Union, and Tariq Ali, the Marxist writer.

Technically speaking, these two developments are unrelated. As yet, there is no evidence linking the individuals behind the blacklist blog with the individuals seeking to blacklist Israel. But both developments feed off each other. Both represent the extent to which three distinct ideological universes - Islamist, far left and extreme right - now overlap.

The names listed in the blacklist blog, which appears to be a project of the far right, were actually lifted from a petition which protested a cause embraced by the far left: the academic boycott of Israel by some British academics. Many of the petitioners are affiliated with Rome's La Sapienza University (see a snapshot of the blacklist here), a fine institution which has energetically promoted academic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.

This poses a direct question to those who advocate boycotts against Israel. Are they not obliged to confront some moral responsibility for the fact that their calls may be - as the blacklist demonstrates - interpreted in an unambiguously antisemitic manner? Or should they just shrug it off as an unfortunate coincidence - as US academic Tony Judt did last October, when, in a speech endorsing the Israel Lobby theory of US foreign policy, he opined that if he or others sounded like antisemitic conspiracy theorists, "…it's unfortunate, but that's just how it is?"

More here - Antisemitism from the Left? Or from the Right?

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Muslims are main cause of European anti-Semitism

According to European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, Franco Frattini, about half the anti-Semitic incidents in Europe are connected to radical Islamic elements. Muslims constitute not more than 4% of Europe's population of nearly half a billion - about 20 million. A recent study found that European Muslims are about eight times as likely as Christians to harbor anti-Semitic feelings.
This puts the recent wave of European anti-Semitism in a new light, and clarifies its probably origins.

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Do it yourself IDF for Sderot?

Here's an idea whose time has come perhaps: do it yourself Israeli rocketeers. If nothing else, it would give Israel a bargaining point in negotiations, "disarming armed groups." It would provide that precious commodity that has been exploited so well by state sponsored terror as well as by Yasser Arafat: Deniability.
It would also move Israel in the dangerous direction of anarchy. If it really comes to this, it is a sign that state institutions are falling apart, and Israel is regressing. A state cannot allow such groups - the result would be something like Palestinian society. But a state cannot abrograte its responsibility to defend its citizens either.
Ami Isseroff

Sderot's Facebook status: Angry

A new Facebook group urges Sderot residents to use the internet to learn how to make crude rockets, like the Kassams fired at them from the Gaza Strip, and shoot them back at the Palestinians.

The group, which currently has 45 members, posts instructional material from the Internet on how to make rockets.

Sderot, just a few kilometers to the east of the Gaza Strip, has been under constant Kassam rocket bombardment since the end of 2000. A recent report showed that over 70 percent of the town's children are suffering from trauma. About 10 percent of the town's inhabitants have left to seek out a quieter life.

Facebook, the social networking site that has taken the online world by storm, allows virtually anyone who is a member of the site to create groups and invite people to join.

The group's creators, Shai and Batya Messenberg from Petah Tikva, posted a description of the group, which states that "it cannot be so difficult: if those retards from the Gaza Strip can do it then so can you."



The message on the group then continues to encourage residents of the beleaguered city to trawl the internet for information on how to build ballistic missiles from materials found in the home. "I'm sure that very soon they [the Gazans] will get the message," the group's creator writes.

A link to NASA's Rocket Science 101 tutorial can also be found on the Facebook group's page. The tutorial allows users to choose from a menu of rockets the ones they would like to assemble, although the NASA rockets are much larger and more complex than the Kassam rockets.

The message goes on to say that Sderot residents can also do their part in cutting off the electricity to the Gaza Strip, "even if the High Court of Justice won't allow it," simply by finding someone with a tractor who is willing to drive into nearby electricity poles and take them down.

The Gaza Strip receives 70 percent of its electricity from Israel, the vast majority of which is produced at the Rottenburg Power station in Ashkelon.

The group's logo picture shows a Palestinian Kassam rocket crew preparing to fire, with the writing "This could be you" scrawled in red across the photograph.

The new group joins about 50 other Facebook groups in support of Sderot, like Save Sderot, Stop the Kassam rockets in Sderot, Light a candle with Sderot, I stand w/Sderot, From 90210 to Sderot, Children of Sderot, Skate for Sderot; For the residents of other towns in the Western Negev Not waiting for the next Kassam [this group is planning to ask all radio stations in Israel to simultaneously play the Red Alert alarm - the one heard in Sderot when Kassam rockets are fired from Gaza – on a given day and a given hour to increase awareness of Sderot's plight amongst the country's residents].





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This should not be happening

This hurts, particularly because of the usually excellent relations between Druze and Jews, and particularly because Peki'in is the only town in Palestine that had a tradition of continuous Jewish settlement over 2,000 years.
Ami Isseroff

Jewish-owned home torched in Peki'in by Druze youth
By Jack Khoury, Haaretz Correspondent Last update - 13:36 11/02/2008

A Jewish-owned home was set on fire Monday in the upper Galilee village of Pekiin, in a move that police say served as a warning by Druze youth to locals who sell their homes to Jews.

The house was purchased four months ago by entrepreneur Naftali Friedman who planned to turn it into a hostel. The house is located adjacent to the village spring in the center of town and is currently empty due to renovations.

The home owner arrived Monday morning to find that tires were set on fire inside the home causing serious damage. No one was hurt in the incident.

Since violent riots broke out in November between police and Druze youth over the burning of a cellular antenna in the village there have been a number of incidents in which Jewish property was damaged.

The clashes left dozens injured, including three people who sustained injuries after police shot them using live rounds.

In December, the home of a Jewish woman who had been living in the town for a year was also lit on fire. The woman complained earlier that locals in the village had been harassing her and had tried to sabotage her property.

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Barak: Israel is preparing for Gaza action

The problem with democracy is that sometimes it forces you to telegraph your punches. On the other hand, this may be a message to the other side.
Ynet reports:

Defense Minister Ehud Barak appeared before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday and said that the IDF is "operating in all manners possible to stop the Qassam fire against Israel."

According to Barak, "the IDF is preparing for a large-scale operation in Gaza, its possible alternatives and consequences. We will not deter [apparently, in Hebrew he said "Niratah" - recoil]  from any course of action needed to give the residents of Sderot and the Gaza vicinity communities their peace."

The defense minister told MKs that during its extensive operations in the Strip, the IDF has killed some 200 terrorists in the last four months, including 16 in recent days.

"The IDF and the Shin Bet are ready and are preparing for future actions. They are our finest," Barak declared.

Barak also responded to the harsh criticism leveled at him by Sderot's residents Sunday, saying, "The residents are going through trying times. The anger and the pain are sincere and justified, and it is our duty as the government to help then in any way possible, alongside our security efforts."

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Winning the war against terror

Israel lives under the shadow of the failure of the Second Lebanon War. This should not obscure the genuine achievement of IDF and the Shin Bet in vanquishing Palestinian terror during the Intifada. The reasons that terrorists and their groupies are so bitter about the security fence, the targeted assassinations and the commando raids  is that they work - they stopped terrror attacks.
But a word to our American friends: Caution: Do not try this stunt in your home. Requires professional training. What works in a small area of 2000 square kilometers that can be sealed off relatively hermetically may not work so well in a large country of 25 million with two porous and hostile borders that is far from your homeland. What works for an intelligance agency that relies on humint and has numerous Arabic speakers of unquestioned loyalty at its disposal will not work for an intelligence agency that relies on electronic intercepts and has to wait two years before they are translated. Israel's success in the West Bank has come at a great price for Palestinian Arabs, who have to go through a regime of checkpoints. If you want to win hearts and minds, this is not the way. Moreover, Israel's success in the West Bank has thus far not been replicated in Gaza.
The only people who can effectively fight terror in Iraq are Iraqis. If they don't want to do it, it will not happen.
Ami Isseroff

From the Wall Street Journal:

The Israeli Lesson
February 5, 2008; Page A16
The news about yesterday's suicide bombing in the Israeli town of Dimona is that it's news. In 2002, at the height of the second intifada, 451 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks, including 14 suicide bombings. By contrast, yesterday's attack, which killed one and injured 11, was the first of its kind in more than a year.

This didn't happen by accident, or because Palestinian radicals have somehow become less hostile to Israel. Responsibility for yesterday's attack was claimed by the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, which is affiliated with President Mahmoud Abbas's ostensibly moderate Fatah party. Islamist Hamas remains even more ardently dedicated to Israel's destruction, a point it emphasizes with its rocket barrages at southern Israeli cities close to the Gaza Strip.

Instead, the difference has come because of Israel's increasingly successful antiterrorist efforts. Key to that success has been the construction of its ostensibly "illegal" security fence, its equally "illegal" targeted assassinations of key terrorist leaders, its "disproportional" attacks on terrorist enclaves in Jenin and elsewhere, and other actions that saved innocent lives but which much of the international community deplored.
One of the most common arguments against Israel's actions is that it would feed a "cycle of violence." It's fair to say that what happened is closer to the opposite. As Israel put pressure on terrorist leaders, they were forced to spend their time running for their lives rather than planning the next attack. As Israel set up physical obstacles to terrorism, the need for large-scale military incursions declined, allowing a semblance of normal life to return for Israelis as well as Palestinians. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, Israel proved that terrorists can be defeated -- a lesson that applies equally in Iraq.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Engage Iran - but what to say to them??

Here is more election year "analysis" I confess that I have no idea if Obama or McCain or Clinton is really "good for Israel." 
There is no doubt that Obama himself has his heart in the right place. But that may not be enough. It is all very well to say you are going to engage Iran, provided it is clear what you will say to them. Obama is not so clear about what he wants to say, and what happens if, almost inevitably, they say, "no way."
Zbig Brzezinski is one of Obama's advisers. He has a proven record on Iran - proven incompetence. He was more or less in charge of US policy in 1979 when U.S. officials stood by and watched Khomeini take over Iran, and did nothing. No, they didn't do "nothing." I'm wrong. They stopped the Iranian army from putting an end to the insurrection out of concern for "Human Rights."
Obama has also promised to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, no matter what. This will undoubtedly be marked as a catastrophic defeat for the U.S. What chance will any engagement with Iran have if the US is negotiating from a position of defeat?
Ami Isseroff


By Gidon D. Remba


Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, February 14, 2007


To win the affection of the American Jewish community, a candidate for President of the United States must, at minimum, demonstrate that he or she is a trusted friend of Israel who will ardently stand up for its rights and needs.   Barack Obama, who has served for the last three years as my U.S. Senator, and before that for eight years as a state senator, has long enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the Chicago Jewish community.  


Even the neoconservative New York Sun newspaper recently confessed:  "We're no shills for Mr. Obama, but these Republicans [who are "preparing to attack Senator Obama for his supposed lack of support for Israel"] haven't checked their facts.  At least by our lights, Mr. Obama's commitment to Israel, as he has articulated it so far in his campaign, is quite moving and a tribute to the broad, bipartisan support that the Jewish state has in America."   (Obama's two-fisted defense of the Jewish state is summed up well on his website,, under Foreign Policy: Israel, in "Barack Obama: A Strong Record of Supporting the Security, Peace, and Prosperity of Israel").


Yet a prominent Israeli official recently wrote an American friend, voicing a protest often heard in Israel and recycled by Obama's swaggering stateside Jewish critics, that "We need an American president who will be tough on Iran, who will use effective sanctions, not one who will schmooze with the ayatollahs."   Such sentiments, while understandable, offer a cartoonish caricature of smart diplomacy, a mega-weapon in Israel's and America's arsenals whose use most Democrats and moderate Republicans have endorsed with regard to Iran.   


The ranks of the diplo-warriors include US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA), the only Holocaust survivor in the U.S. Congress and the dean of Israel's Capitol Hill champions.   Lantos remarked recently:  "I continue to favor dialogue between our two countries, in contrast to the Administration's belligerent and stiff-necked refusal to talk with Tehran.  And I believe we need to use every means at our disposal - economic, political and diplomatic - to persuade Iranians that peaceful development of energy options, free of any hint of military use, is well within reach."  


Obama's tough-guy critics on Iran are victims of a double irony.  Obama rightly notes that our failure under Bush to bargain unconditionally with Iran has helped empower extremists like Ahmadinejad, weakening pragmatists in the clerical government who seek détente with the U.S. and the West, including Israel.   Obama's approach gives the U.S. far more leverage against Iranian bad acts against us and Israel.  He will deploy a fuller range of carrots and sticks in dealing with the regime, making him the leader of choice for those who want the United States to exercise the breadth of its power when facing down the ayatollahs.  


Obama has also been at the forefront of the U.S. Senate in fashioning more aggressive economic measures against Iran, co-sponsoring key sanctions legislation, and in May 2007 authoring and introducing as the primary sponsor the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act.  Obama will engage antagonists with a combination of economic pressures and hard bargaining the way no-nonsense Republican and Democratic administrations did during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the "evil empire" of earlier time.    


While the American Jewish Committee has disavowed an internal memo expressing concern over Obama's calls for engagement with Iran, "and for negotiating with other rogue states, notably Syria," its rogue author ignored the fact that Israel's Prime Minister Olmert, backed by the Israeli defense establishment, has been seeking to resume peace talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad, despite heat from the Bush Administration. 


Since when did the neoconservative nostrum "wage only sanctions and war" on the "axis of evil" become the touchstone for defining "pro-Israel"?    Apparently the Bush Administration has itself strayed from this failed doctrine—see Iraq—by hashing out a deal with North Korea to trade denuclearization steps for economic aid and other incentives.  Obama told the National Jewish Democratic Council that "We should never seek to dictate what is best for the Israelis and their security interests. No Israeli Prime Minister should ever feel dragged to or blocked from the negotiating table by the United States," a dig at the Bush Administration's arm-twisting Israel against exploring peace prospects with Syria.  


Similarly, the debate between fans and dissenters from the Bush Administration's Iraq strategy comes down to one side's blind faith that more military force will bring order to Iraq and the broader Middle East, while the other holds that we have failed to wield the full array of power at America's disposal, and what instruments we have used, we have played artlessly.  Obama's Jewish critics bluster, with Philadelphia Jewish Exponent Editor Jonathan Tobin, that "a precipitous skedaddle from Iraq would leave both the United States and Israel seriously weakened."   That might be so if it were truly reckless, uncoordinated and unaccompanied by a muscular "diplomatic surge."   If, following Obama's critics, we practice more faith-based military surges, American and Israeli prestige will be crippled even more than they already have by this war of folly.  Their strategy has empowered Iran, emboldened Al Qaeda, and threatened regional stability with millions of Iraqi refugees and a bloody Sunni-Shia civil conflict which could set aflame the entire Middle East.    


Obama advocates the more sober and realistic view, endowing the U.S. with a stronger hand to play with the Iraqi government, leavened by hard-nosed diplomacy to encourage Iraq's neighbors to cooperate in a new regional stabilization effort: 


"The stated purpose of [the Bush Administration's military] surge was to enable Iraq's leaders to reconcile. But as the recent report from the Government Accountability Office confirms, the Iraqis are not reconciling.   Rather than use our presence to make progress, the Iraqi government has put off taking responsibility - that's the finding of a Commission headed by General Jim Jones."


"In a civil war where no military solution exists, [the phased] redeployment [of American forces from Iraq] remains our best leverage to pressure the Iraqi government to achieve the political settlement between its warring factions that can slow the bloodshed and promote stability. My plan also allows for a limited number of U.S. troops to remain and prevent Iraq from becoming a haven for international terrorism and reduce the risk of all-out chaos. In addition, we will redeploy our troops to other locations in the region, reassuring our allies that we will stay engaged in the Middle East."  


"Removing our troops is part of applying real pressure on Iraq's leaders to end their civil war.  There is no military solution in Iraq, and there never was… We must get out strategically and carefully, removing troops from secure areas first, and keeping troops in more volatile areas until later…. If - but only if - Iraq makes political progress and their security forces are not sectarian, we should continue to train and equip those forces…The future of our military, our foreign policy, and our national purpose cannot be hostage to the inaction of the Iraqi government."


Obama's critics rely on scare tactics, innuendo and guilt by association.  They distort his positions, attacking only straw men, because they are afraid to debate his real proposals on their merits.  Obama is the preferred candidate for those who want to turbo-charge American strength and unity at home and abroad.  And that's truly good for Israel—and for the Jews. 




Gidon D. Remba is a veteran Israel activist and commentator.  He blogs at and can be reached at   The foregoing represents his private views and not those of any organization.


Mr. Remba's commentaries on Israel, the Middle East and Jewish affairs have appeared widely in the Jewish and general press, including the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, the Nation, Ha'aretz, the Forward, the Jerusalem Post, the Jerusalem Report, Tikkun, and the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, where he writes a monthly column on Israel. 


Mr. Remba served as Senior Foreign Press Editor and Translator in the Israel Prime Minister's Office from 1977-1978 during the Egyptian-Israeli Camp David peace process. He translated the Knesset speeches of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, and Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, as well as Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin and other Israeli leaders for the foreign press during the period from Egyptian President Sadat's visit to Jerusalem until the Camp David Peace Accords.  He co-translated Sadat's Knesset speech into English for the world press.

Continued (Permanent Link)

Humanitarian Crisis in Sderot

When an eight year old kid has to have a leg amputated, and twenty percent of the people in a town leave, it's a humanitarian crisis, isn't it?
Ami Isseroff

Director, Regional News Service for Sderot and the Western Negev
Sderot Information Center for the Western Negev Ltd.
12 Rakefet Street
Sderot, Israel
Messages: 03 636 4017


On Saturday night the 9th of February, two brothers 19 and 8 year old, Rami and Osher Twito, borrowed their mother's credit card to go to the Sderot ATM machine to buy after shave lotion as a birthday present for their father.
Within moments, they  were lying  next to each other in a pool of blood on a Sderot side walk.

Pieces of their legs scattered on the street.  One of Osher's legs was immediately severed.
Osher's  second leg was shattered.  Rami and Osher  were  running for their lives after they heard the RED COLOR siren. They didn't have enough time to run for the shelter which was 100 meters away,  knowing that they only had 15 seconds until the  kassam missile would explode.

Tens of Sderot's residents ran to help the boys. Then another siren went  off, and they all  ran for the shelter once again.. A few minutes later, a few residents started to scream to the crowd :

 " Let's go block the streets!!" They started chanted:  We want a military solution!
We want the army to do what's right and to fight the enemy!"

There was utter despair on the people's faces -  helplessness of the fathers and mothers carrying their children. 

What a Sabbath in Sderot, with 40 missile attacks fired at Sderot.

Thinking about Friday night.  Sitting at a Sabbath dinner with the Gad Family. Hava Gad is the Sderot Parents Association spokeswoman A siren was fired while the soup was being served.

The whole family took cover in their hall way, which is the safest  place in the house.

The missile fell across the street. A boom rocked the house. Hava collapsed.  Tzfania her husband , a reserve military officer,  leaned over Hava, calming her down. Their 9 year old son- Yanai played his own role   supporting  with his mother, calming her down,

A few seconds later another explosion. And then another one… It quiets down and everyone returned to the Sabbath  table

And then another missile attack. Tsfania opened  the back door for their puppy to hide for shelter in their hall way.

Hava,  bent over eve more than before, said  that she is  going to throw  up. Tsfania  holds her tight

Yanai, once again comforting his mother, mentions, matter of factly,  that  on  Friday morning a missile exploded in the soccer field next to their school,  and that they were lucky that they weren't allowed to go out, for security reasons…

As the meal finished, the children played games on the floor, and then, an enormous explosion…

This time, Hava screamed  and collapsed on the floor, shivering… Tsfania went to the other room to get her a pill, and asked  her if he should call an ambulance to evacuate her.

Yaani again hugged  and kissed her, telling her that it fell a blocks away from here and that there is nothing to worry about… Yaani looked up and said that  they should learn medicine in school, for cases like these…  A fourth grader who sees himself as a paramedic at the age of nine.

Walking  the streets of Sderot on the Sabbath  afternoon,  to get a feeling about what people are going through,  a few brave children went out to play in the sunny beautiful day.

Every group of children had  something  had something to do with the rocket reality

A  four year old, mumbling while playing next to the synagogue- 'Tseva Adom, Tseva Adom' "RED COLOR RED COLOR"…

And then  there was the nearby Sderot Ethiopian community , where children were arguing with each other , debating , which school was hit more by the rockets… Children were playing with toys,  throwing them up to the air, and yelling- "A Kassam!" and then make a noise of an explosion…

Watching these children,  you think of the recent statement from  Dr Roni Beger from Natal Trauma Treatment Center, that anywhere between  70%- 94% of the children in Sderot now suffer from PTS- Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms.

Dr. Adrianna Katz,  head of the Sderot Mental Health Center, notes that most of these
Children are going to be affected for life…

And then there was the perspective of the  experts –
Dr. Reuven Ehrlich, the head of Intelligence and Terror Information Center, visited Sderot last week and reported that over 8,000 missile attacks had occurred over the past seven  years

Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee,  last Tuesday requested ten minutes of air time on the Voice of Israel Radio newsreel, where he demanded that the Israeli army kill the terrorists who  give the orders to fire the missiles…not only the missile launchers.  In other words, to kill Gaza's political leaders who meet every Saturday afternoon for their weekly meeting, where they decide where and when to terrorize  Jews.

For some reason, HaNegbi's suggestion has not been picked up.

At the  same,time, at least 800 homes here in Sderot have no protected rooms where someone  can take cover during a missile attack. Prime Minister Olmert has vetoed the offer  of a private philanthropist to  fund  to install these protected rooms. Why? Olmert's office does not answer as to why he places 800 families in a life threatening situation in their own homes
Yet  the unkindest cut of all came from Washington.

On Thursday,  the US State Department issued a strong statement to warn Israel to show concern for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. A call placed on Friday to the US embassy to ask whether the US State Department would issue a statement about the humanitarian crisis in Sderot and the Western Negev went unanswered.

Meanwhile, not one Jewish group and not one human rights organization issued a single statement of protest or horror about our city under siege. !

Continued (Permanent Link)

Another 'Israel Lobby' theorist

Is Perry Anderson lost in the lobby?

Why has an intellectual ornament of the left embraced the conspiracy theory of the 'Israel lobby' from the paleo-conservative right?

January 30, 2008 2:00 PM

"In London ... one finds Britain's finest minds propounding, in sophisticated language and melodious Oxbridge accents, the conspiracy theories of Pat Buchanan." So wrote Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan, back in 2003.

He was on to something. The Latin-splashed prose of the Marxist Perry Anderson, ex-editor of New Left Review, is a world away from the homespun wisdom of paleo-conservative Pat Buchanan. But when it comes to the idea that Israel controls US foreign policy, the ornament of European intellectual culture now chimes with the former Nixon speech writer.

According to Buchanan, "Capitol Hill is Israeli occupied territory" and Congress is "incapable of standing up for US national interests, if Aipac [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] is on the other end of the line". While "America needs a Middle East policy made in the USA, not in Tel Aviv," "Bush has pursued the neoconservative's agenda of endless wars on the Islamic world that serve only the interests of a country other than the one he was elected to preserve and protect".

Writing in the latest New Left Review, Anderson echoes Buchanan. "The Middle East is the one part of the world where the US political system, as presently constituted, cannot act according to a rational calculus of national interest, because it is inhabited by another, supervening interest". To understand US foreign policy one must first understand "the grip of the Israeli lobby ... on the American political and media system". Such is the extent of Israel's power, according to Anderson, "Had Israel opposed the war we can be fairly sure it would not have happened".

The "structural irrationality" of US policy in the Middle East is the power of the Israel lobby. "Circumstantial irrationalities", such as the invasion of Iraq, are mere surface reflections of this deeper problem.

The case against the idea that Israel controls US foreign policy via its "lobby" has been made. (See this post at Jeff Weintraub's blog.)

My concern is with the figure of Anderson himself, since the late 1960s one of the world's leading intellectuals and the mainstay of the "flagship" theoretical journal of the global left, New Left Review. Why is he now echoing Buchanan's conspiracy tale?

Once upon a time, Anderson, with many of his generation, focused on the positive goal of achieving socialism. However, after 1989, his political and theoretical hopes - which were based on what he called "the workers' states" - collapsed in rubble. Since then, he has been essentially uninterested in (and uncomprehending of) the democratic revolutions of our time, while remaining unreconciled to "bourgeois society" and "liberal democracy" - which he regards as either global evils or miserably cramped horizons which humanity must transcend. In other words, Anderson, along with many others, has retained his negative ontological critique of the entire human condition under capitalism, his militant spirit, and his yearning for transcendence, while lacking a positive political programme, a viable social agency or a cogent strategy. The result is nihilism of a sort. His fury is inchoate, his politics unanchored, and his radicalism is turning rancid. He has "lost his way".

Anderson is no anti-semite. But he has embraced a conspiracy story about an Israeli octopus spreading its controlling tentacles into the US political system and media. And he has decked it out in the language of Marxism, and lent it his lustre. And that's bad enough.



Continued (Permanent Link)

Joseph Massad takes on Jean Paul Sartre, Zionist agent

Fifty years ago, people may look back with horror and amazement on the fact that Joseph Massad was allowed to become a tenured professor at Columbia University. On the other hand, it is equally possible that they look back and say to their wives, "Praise be to Allah, he was before his time." It depends who wins.
Massad Contra Sartre
on January 31, 2008
in Z word blog
Solomonia draws our attention to this screed by Joseph Massad in Al Ahram. Massad appears to have written the article in 2003; still, the views he expresses tell us a great deal about the character of anti-Zionism.
Sol makes wise observations about Massad's "bizarre bigotry, including a repeat of his theory that it's actually the Zionists (and not people like him who are particularly interested in erasing Israel — but nowhere else — from the map) who are the real anti-Semites."
What triggered this rant from Massad, a Columbia University academic with scant regard for scholarship and a predilection for near-hysterical argumentation? This time, it's the late French philosopher, Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre passed away in 1980, but Massad is firm that his legacy is the main reason why Palestinians receive such little sympathy from European leftist intellectuals.
Yes, you did read that correctly. Most of us bemoan the fixation so much of the European left has with the cause of Palestine, to the detriment of other pressing issues, but Massad wants more. Much more.
He wants European leftists - those that haven't already done so, that is - to recognize that Zionism is racism, that Israel should be dissolved as apartheid South Africa was dissolved, that Jews have been transformed into antisemites, while Palestinians have become Jews.
Continued here: Massad Contra Sartre

Continued (Permanent Link)

Hamas planning mass breakout - to Israel

Hamas are planning another "breakout" - this time to Israel. Of course, everything is relative. The German invasions of France could also be described as "breakouts" and the Nazi invasion of Poland was also a breakout. From the point of view of Hulagu, the Mongol invasions of the Middle East were also "breakouts."    
Ami Isseroff


Ahmed Yousef, chief political advisor to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to "Der Spiegel" (2 Feb 2008): "If the Israelis want our blood, I'm willing to sacrifice my children."

Ahmed Yousef, chief political advisor to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, regards knocking down the Rafah wall as the greatest success Hamas has scored since winning the parliamentary elections two years ago. Speaking from his Gaza City office, Yousef said he has received phone calls from around the world congratulating him on the action - including from self-appointed emissaries of European governments. "Hamas is once again a player to be reckoned with," exulted Yousef.

Ahmed Yousef would like to pull off another Rafah-style exploit, but this time against the Palestinians' archenemy, Israel. He is planning a mass march to the Erez border crossing in northern Gaza. "We're going to send half a million people there, mainly women and children. Then we'll see how the Israelis react," he says. A devilish scheme, since the Israelis would not react as passively to the storming of their border as the Egyptians did. But Yousef is not impressed by such objections. "If the Israelis want our blood, I'm willing to sacrifice my children."

Yousef has already asked international observers to participate in the "march on Erez." Some have already agreed to come, and Yousef is happy about this. "This," he says, "is the beginning of the third Intifada."


Continued (Permanent Link)

Hezbollah rearms under the eyes of UNIFIL

A ticking bomb?
"It's true that Hezbollah is raising its flag along the border," an IDF official said. "But in a year and a half not one of our soldiers on the border has sustained even a scratch. During the entire period only two rockets have been launched by an extremist group unaffiliated to Hezbollah," the official added.
A man works in the Empire State building, on the 50th floor. He looks out and sees a man falling.
"How's it going?"
"So far, so good."
Ami Isseroff
IDF: Hezbollah deploys rockets, missiles in south Lebanon
 By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

Hezbollah has managed to deploy large numbers of Katyusha rockets and  antitank missiles in southern Lebanon, senior Israel Defense Forces officials have told Haaretz. These weapons in Shi'ite villages have been undetected by UN observers, the officials say.
They say the weapons have been smuggled south of the Litani River despite the increased presence of the United Nations Forces Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) since the end of the Second Lebanon War.

The sources add that Hezbollah's reluctance to use the weapons since the war ended a year and a half ago reflects the strong blow the IDF dealt the militant group and that Israel's deterrence has not been diminished.
At the end of the war the Lebanese army was deployed in the south of the
country in accordance with UN resolution 1701. There is also an increased UN presence. The IDF has said that Hezbollah has systematically smuggled arms to the area in trucks marked as delivering civilian supplies. Most of the weapons are estimated to have arrived from Iran via Syria.
Hezbollah has also had to deal with a ban on rebuilding its string of outposts along the border with Israel that were destroyed during the war. To gather information on the IDF, the organization has sent groups of agents disguised as media teams to film activity on the Israeli border.
Since the war ended, UNIFIL has completed probing Hezbollah strongholds near the border where the group had built an array of bunkers and camouflaged Katyusha rocket launchers. Hezbollah has now placed most of its launchers north of the Litani and has hidden a large number of them in Shi'ite villages south of the river. The group has managed to replenish its stocks of rockets and missiles depleted during the fighting. New missiles sent by Iran are capable of striking targets south of the Tel Aviv area, army officials say.
Amassing antitank missiles in villages south of the Litani shows that the
organization thinks the IDF will not hesitate to launch a ground operation in the event of renewed hostilities. Massive use of such missiles would slow down any IDF advance into Lebanon. But the placement of such weapons in villages is also a weak point in Hezbollah's strategy and would lead to massive destruction of civilian areas in any fighting.
Many of the villages in the south have not yet been rebuilt. IDF top brass claim that a fear of destruction and the organization's difficulty in recruiting and training new fighters have dissuaded Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah from instigating limited attacks on Israel, as the group often did in the Har Dov area.
Though Hezbollah says only 250 of its members were killed in the fighting, Israeli intelligence estimates that some 600 died and another 1,000 were wounded.
"It's true that Hezbollah is raising its flag along the border," an IDF official said. "But in a year and a half not one of our soldiers on the border has sustained even a scratch. During the entire period only two rockets have been launched by an extremist group unaffiliated to Hezbollah," the official added.
"Of course, that may change tomorrow. Hezbollah, for its own reasons, has not changed its jihadist ideology that calls for our destruction, but refraining from launching attacks testifies to the blow it suffered during the war and, for now, it has refrained from launching a new round."

Continued (Permanent Link)

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