On second thought
I know there are a
lot of issues in the world to discuss, but damn, I'm so not in the
mood today. And my best friend's a Presybterian, too. Nah. I'll talk about
it tomorrow. Or the next day. (Of course, Heidi and I talked about it,
and then got into an argument over Israel's policies on the pals. Oh,
So last night, I dreamed about Michael Moore. Yes, Michael Moore. He
cut me off when I didn't answer his questions the way he wanted me to
(and made the audience laugh with me and at him). And his people stole
two hundred bucks of mine. And when I called him fat, a woman, who was
also fat, got all PC on me and told me I shouldn't say that. "Why
not"? I asked. "It's true."
So, like, could I make a request of my fellow bloggers? Stop writing
about Michael Moore, because damn, I don't ever want to dream about
him again. I dreamed he was [gag] shirtless. You don't want to ever have
that image in your mind. Trust me on that.
There used to be a shampoo commercial that touted its product as being
as good for hair as rainwater. I don't remember the product. But I'm starting
to think they weren't exaggerating the values of rainwater. When Tig comes
in from the rain, after I dry him off, his coat feels cleaner and fluffier
Gracie's coat feels exactly the same, because when it's raining, Gracie
goes to the patio door, sees that it's raining, and yowls at me to make
it stop. That's one of the reasons one of her names is Princess Gracie.
You should see her dash outside to see if she can outrun the rain, then
zoom right back inside when she realizes she can't. And then she yowls
again, asking me to make the rain stop. Sorry, Gracie. I have no such
Okay, maybe a little bit of news. Israeli security services stopped yet
another suicide bomb attempt. And Yasser Arafat says "there
is no crisis" in the PA. Suuure, Fishface. The only reason the
chaos in Gaza isn't front-page news is because you put out death
threats on reporters who write about it again. (By the way, guys,
on your Detroit News and Investors Daily gigs. Keep us up to date
on the hatemail your cartoons engender from that area, 'cause I'm betting
you're in for a bunch of doozies.)
I have to eat a late lunch/early dinner. I have no desire to eat any
food that currently exists. I hate when that happens. There ought to be
a place called Pot Luck that invents totally new foods for people who
are hungry but can't think of what to eat.
Maybe I'll just bring that last container of chicken soup to work with
me, and have that when I get hungry. permalink
Palestinian "freedom fighters," whose job it is to free their
people from the Israeli occupation, shot and killed a 15-year-old boy
in Beit Hanun yesterdaybecause he
tried to stop them from setting up a Kassam rocket launcher near his
Palestinian health and security officials said that
a group of Fatah Al Aksa Martyr's Brigades terrorists killed a 15-year-old
Palestinian boy Friday morning in the town of Beit Hanun in the northern
Gaza Strip after the youth tried to stop them from setting up a Kassam
rocket launcher near his family's home, Army Radio reported.
Members of the Arafat-linked terrorist group were trying
to plant Kassam rocket launchers next to the Zanin family residence
in northern Beit Hanun, when the family, concerned over IDF retaliation,
argued and ultimately struggled with the terrorists.
In the ensuing scuffle, the terrorists opened fire
on the Zanin family, killing Jamil Zanin, 15, and injuring 5 others.
The Kassam crew gathered their launchers and missiles and left the scene.
Look how this story is spun in the Arab
Palestinian teen shot dead in Gaza Strip as Israeli
soldier wounded in West Bank
A Palestinian teenager was killed Friday morning in Beit Hanun, in the
northern Gaza Strip, as he and other residents were protesting against
activists attempting to plant a roadside bomb to blow up Israeli armor.
Witnesses told AFP Hassan al-Zaanin has been killed
by Palestinian fire. They said residents feared that an anti-Israeli
attack would lead to harsh and collective Israeli reprisals.
But Palestinian security sources said the teen had
been killed by Israeli troops that indiscriminately opened fire on civilians
in Beit Hanun.
And Al-Jazeera, our favorite Arab "fair and balanced" media
outlet, which Canada is allowing to broadcast while Fox News cannot, has
Three Palestinians, including two resistance leaders,
have been killed by Israeli fire in the occupied Gaza Strip.
Palestinian teenager Hasan al-Zaanin was killed on
Friday morning in the besieged northern Gaza town of Bait Hanun.
Security sources said he was shot dead by Israeli occupation
troops that indiscriminately opened fire at Palestinian resistance fighters
who were allegedly planting a roadside bomb.
Some witnesses said that al-Zaanin was killed when
he tried to stop the fighters from planting the bomb. However, there
are no independent reports to confirm this.
And my favorite news service, Reuters, buried this information in the
last two paragraphs of a story titled "EU
Vows to Play Peace Role Despite Israeli Rebuke."
In the northern Gaza Strip, an 18-year-old Palestinian
was shot dead Friday, medics said. One witness said the youth was killed
by gunmen near his home as he tried to prevent them from planting explosives
against Israeli forces.
But Palestinian security sources blamed Israeli troops,
though an army official denied any Israeli involvement. (Additional
reporting by Allyn Fisher-Ilan and Corinne Heller in Jerusalem and Wafa
Amr in Ramallah)
Reverse the situation: Make it the IDF accidentally killing the teenager,
and you know there'd be six hundred stories titled "Israeli soldiers
kill 15-year-old boy."
No, there's no bias against Israel in the media. None whatsoever. permalink
Israel's ambassador on the UN
comment: The speech of Israel's ambassador to the UN regarding the
vote on the separation fence. Hat tip to Daniel S.
Allow me to start with a word of thanks. Thank God
that the fate of Israel, and of the Jewish people, is not decided in
Let there be no mistake - Israel has respect for the
Assembly and for the noble principles for which it stands. It is precisely
because of this respect that we cannot but be dismayed that harmful
and politicized interests too often seek to gain control of its mandate
and activities. It was that principled position that led many States
to join Israel in objecting to the abuse of the ICJ last December, and
it is that same position that should have led States to object to the
resolution voted on today. In this context, we would like to express
our sincere appreciation to those States that have decided not to support
today's one-sided and counter-productive resolution.
Sadly, the Assembly has missed yet another opportunity
to make a relevant contribution to the cause of peace. By pandering
to an agenda that seeks to focus on the response to terrorism but to
marginalize the gravity of the terrorism itself - and the responsibility
of the Palestinians to end that terror - this resolution cannot but
embolden those who are the true enemies of the Israeli and Palestinian
We recognize the efforts of certain states that have
sought to introduce some semblance of balance into the text of the resolution.
But in our view that was not the issue here. It is not about grudging
references to terrorism or carefully crafted, often "constructively"
ambiguous, phrases. It is about whether States will grant legitimacy
to initiatives that at their heart are at odds with the very spirit
and letter of the Road Map. It is about whether States will entertain,
with polite diplomacy, efforts that are so transparently designed to
ensure than no genuine pressure is ever brought to bear against the
terrorism that made the security fence necessary and that at this moment,
and at every moment, sabotage the prospects for peace. And it is about
whether, in addressing an issue of direct relevance to a country's national
security - of direct relevance to the life and death of its citizens
- the Assembly can afford to show such little regard for Israel's right
and duty to protect its people.
There is a broader context, and a wider goal, that
this resolution belittles if not ignores. A central part of that context
is the continuing threat to peace and to lives posed by deadly violence
that just today claimed the lives of two Israeli soldiers, killed by
yet another Hizbollah violation of the Blue Line. Without a comprehensive
approach to the obligations of all parties, an approach that is so lacking
in this myopic resolution, we cannot move towards peace.
Those States that recognized the harmful and perverse
nature of the Advisory Opinion request, especially those that are members
of the Quartet, are, in our view, duty bound to demand an end to the
Palestinian abuse of UN organs, not to engage them. This ill-conceived
draft resolution and the ones that will no doubt follow only complicate
the mutual implementation of the Road Map and erode its central status.
To return to the path to peace, passing references
to the Road Map and the mutual obligations of both sides cannot be treated
as bargaining chips for which concessions are demanded and given. To
return to the path of peace, a total disregard for Israel's bold an
courageous initiative to disengage from Gaza, and parts of the West
Bank, can only be interpreted as a decision by those countries who supported
this resolution to disengage themselves from the reality in the region.
It does not bode well and casts serious doubt on the ability of those
states to contribute to the peace process. To return to the path of
peace, we should not allow the misuse of the ICJ to take center stage,
while pushing the imperative of mutual recognition and mutual compromise
to the sidelines. And to return to the path of peace, we should not
be so detached from reality as to treat an Advisory Opinion as though
it is binding, and binding Palestinian obligations as though they were
virtually non-existent. This is not a recipe for progress, it is a recipe
Regardless of actual events on the ground, we can all
rest assured that a new set of virtual reality resolutions will be presented
in September, when the Palestinian representative hopes more public
attention can be drawn to the matter. After all, as long as these self-serving
Palestinian drafts are viewed as the basis for negotiations rather than
the basis for failure, we should not expect anything different.
We will not repeat any of our comments regarding the
advisory opinion and the tainted process that created it. We believe
our statement on Friday speaks for itself. Israel is not above the law.
Israel will ensure that the route of the security fence complies fully
with the requirements of international law, as detailed by its Supreme
Court. We will continue our thorough review of the entire route of the
fence, subject to judicial scrutiny. And we will ensure that the correct
and legal balance is struck between the quality of life of individuals
living along the fence and the right to life of the civilians protected
But we reject absolutely the attempts to use the law
as a political weapon, as if the law applies to Israel but does not
apply to anyone else. When all is said and done, it is simply outrageous
to respond with such vigor to a measure that saves lives, and respond
with such casual indifference to the ongoing campaign of Palestinian
terrorism that takes lives. This is not justice, but a perversion of
justice and people of conscience around the world see it as such.
The price of the international community's indifference
towards Palestinian lawlessness has been painfully evident in the last
few days. That lawlessness and violence bred by Arafat's corrupt and
repressive rule has received none of this Assembly's attention but it
is at the heart of the problem. No doubt, the Palestinian representative
will blame the recent chaos in Gaza on Israel too. But this view is
clearly not shared by many ordinary Palestinians who actually live in
the region. Anyone familiar with the reality on the ground knows that
Arafat and his henchmen, having sponsored and tolerated terrorism for
so long, and having refused to allow security reform as required by
the Road Map, have proved that they are neither willing to be partners
in peace nor ready to meet the responsibilities of democratic leadership
for their own people. Sadly, this Assembly, by buying into a mock narrative
that fails to genuinely demand anything from the Palestinian leadership,
as reinforced this sense of impunity and done nothing to compel them
to rethink their catastrophic strategy.
Last December a disservice was done by the Assembly
not just to the International Court of Justice, but to the balanced
and non-selective application of the rule of law. Today we believe that
those that supported this resolution have compounded that error. The
reputation and credibility of international judicial institutions are
the worse for it, the claim of this Assembly to legitimacy in dealing
with this conflict is the worse for it, and the Israeli and Palestinian
peoples are the worse for it.
News bias roundup
So the UN, in a move that surprised no one, voted 150-6 in favor of the
ICJ's ruling on the separation fence. In a move that surprises no one,
intends to finish the fence. For the best article I've read on the
ICJ ruling, read Anne
Bayefsky's article in the National Review.
But there are several interesting headlines in AP. The early morning
article headline: "Israel
vows to Continue Building Barrier." The latest article: Defiant
Israel Continues Building Barrier.
It's not like the AP has changed its content, though. The lead to the
first article contains the word "defiant."
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - A defiant Israel has vowed to
continue construction of its West Bank barrier despite the overwhelming
approval of a U.N. General Assembly resolution demanding that the structure
be demolished as the world court ordered.
The 150-6 vote late Tuesday, with 10 abstentions, reflected
the widespread international opposition to the 425-mile-long barrier
which Israel says is needed to protect its citizens from suicide bombings
but the Palestinians contend is a land grab ahead of peace negotiations.
The assembly's vote, like the advisory opinion of the
International Court of Justice, is not legally binding, but both have
symbolic value as international statements of support for the barrier's
I guess they decided they needed to make the headline more reflective
of their anti-Israel biasI mean, their lead. At least they mentioned
in the third paragraph that both the ruling and the vote are non-binding.
It's buried in the seventh graf of the latest story. It's well-known in
the industry that few people read past about the third paragraph.
Now take a look at the headline and lead to this article: Three
Killed As Hezbollah, Israelis Clash.
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Israeli soldiers clashed
with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas along the border Tuesday, leaving
two soldiers and one guerrilla dead and prompting an Israeli general
to threaten Hezbollah and its sponsors - Syria and Iran.
The renewed fighting, the most serious in months,
followed a Beirut bombing Monday that killed a veteran Hezbollah commander.
Hezbollah blamed Israel for the assassination, but the Israeli army
Israel and Hezbollah traded blame Tuesday over
who precipitated the most serious fighting in months. Lebanon's government,
meanwhile, complained to the U.N. Security Council about the attacks,
saying Israel violated Lebanese airspace, killed a Lebanese guerrilla
fighter and caused material damage, a Foreign Ministry official said
on condition of anonymity.
Unlike most of the previous clashes, Tuesday's incidents
were far from the disputed Chebaa Farms, where Israel and Hezbollah
frequently exchange gunfire.
The Israeli army said two soldiers died Tuesday
and helicopter gunships attacked Hezbollah positions. Hezbollah
confirmed one guerrilla was killed.
Witnesses in southern Lebanon said two Israeli helicopters
fired two rockets at guerrillas near the border village of Aita Shaab,
about nine miles southeast of coastal Tyre. Later, an Israeli helicopter
staged a raid in the same area, security officials said.
The Lebanese security officials, speaking on condition
of anonymity, said an Israeli tank fired on a Hezbollah position near
Aita Shaab, killing one guerrilla.
Hezbollah returned fire across the border. Israeli
helicopter gunships later fired back, the officials said.
When you read the boldface phrases, look at the difference between the
words used to describe Israel actions and the words used to describe Hezbollah
actions. Two Israeli soldiers "died." But the guerrilla was
"killed." Israeli forces "attacked." Hezbollah forces
This is why the world votes 150-6 to stop Israel from defending herself.
Because there is an anti-Israel bias throughout almost every major media
outlet. The public cannot be well-informed if those who are supposed to
inform them don't do their job properly.
Buried deep in the article is this vapid description of Hezbollah, but
AP is not content to stop with the usual bias. They quote an ominous threat
by an Israeli general:
In Israel, Maj. Jacob Dallal of the military spokesman's
office said Hezbollah shot first at an Israeli border post and
Israeli military action responded to the "provocation."
Later, Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, the Israeli area commander,
said the day was not "far away" when Israel would "act
"I don't believe Hezbollah will be the only address
at that time. I think this is a matter of state responsibility, and
these two countries (Syria and Iran) that host and direct financing
and training Hezbollah organization will end up paying its price,"
Syria and Iran support, sponsor and help arm Hezbollah,
which is on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist organizations
and was largely responsible for pushing Israel to end its 18-year occupation
of southern Lebanon in 2000.
Notice the belittlement of the Israeli position, and the scare quotes
around the word provocationas if being shot at isn't a good enough
reason to shoot back.
Now let's take a look at the
same story in Ha'aretz, the Israeli leftist publication that does
not hesitate to blame the IDF if the IDF is at fault.
An initial investigation into the killing Tuesday
of two Israel Defense Forces soldiers by Hezbollah snipers on the
Israel-Lebanon border has revealed serious failures in the functioning
of soldiers at the outpost where the attack took place.
The two soldiers were shot dead while repairing a rooftop
antenna at an outpost manned by soldiers from an elite reserve unit.
Early stages of the probe also revealed what may be
negligence on the part of IDF commanders in the northern border region.
The attack came as the army was high alert following
the death of a top Hezbollah official is a car bombing in Beirut on
The two soldiers, both communications technicians,
were sent to make the repairs on the roof of the Nurit outpost, near
Moshav Zarit, without ceramic flak jackets. Sergeant Itai Iluz, 21,
of Afula, and First Sergeant Avishai Kuriski, 24, of Upper Nazareth,
were shot while trying to repair one of the antenna on the roof.
According to AP, though, the Israelis and Hezbollah are "trading
blame" over who started things. Two unarmed repairmen were shot while
trying to fix an antenna, yet Israel "clashed" with Hezbollah
Perhaps AP should try to "report" the "news" instead
of twisting itself into knots to blame Israel, yet again. permalink
On second thought
First, the links: Michele has a pledge
drive going. Fork over a few bucks to her if you can; she's worked
hard enough for other people's charities. Hey, fork over a few bucks to
me, too, or visit my wishlist, what the hey. And she's trying to help
a fellow blogger find his son's killers.
I keep seeing this guy in my referrers,
but do I go over and read his blog? Nooo. So I finally go over there,
and I can't stop laughing. Don't tell AS I told you so, but read the
comments on this post, and don't be drinking anything while you do.
Damn, Ace, you are a cold one. (I had bronchitis. The coughing sucks,
and I was a smoker at the time [quit for the ten days I had bronchitis
and went right back, stupid me], but nope, I didn't need a hospital. Just
a doctor's visit and antibiotics. Oh, and a new set of lungs after I coughed
up the one I had.)
Here's another blogger I should have linked to long before: Yael's
blog is excellent. I particularly like the picture of fences
around the world that the UN have not condemned.
Harrison, say what you
will about cats, but at least they're smart enough not to think that petrified
poop is food. This, on the heels of hearing that Sarah G.'s prize
dachshund refuses to believe, even after many examples, that toads
taste really bad. Hehehehe. Kneel
Now the thoughts.
Conversations with stupid people: My cellphone
rang earlier this evening. It was a number I didn't recognize, which was
my first clue it was going to be a wrong number. The following conversation
"Hello, this is Meryl."
"This is Meryl."
"Isn't this Jeannie?"
"No, this is Meryl."
"Oh, I thought this was Jeannie. I'm sorry, I must have the wrong
I know, I could have said something really snarky, but I tend to be pleasant
to people on the phone unless they're unpleasant to me. But one does have
to wonder at the stupidity of someone who can't understand the phrase,
"This is Meryl."
It's good to be a cat: So I'm taking stock
of the easy life my cats lead, and I start thinking: What if all the religions
have it wrong? What if God isn't judging us by how we treat each other,
but by how we treat our pets?
I mean, if that's the case, I have it made. I should be so lucky to be
treated as well as I treat my cats.
More conversations with stupid people: Speaking
of stupid, I never shared this anecdote from my latest trip to NJ. We
discovered, to my delight, that my old town was having its fireworks on
July 5th. So my mother and I drove to Montclair and met up with my former
neighbor and her son. She brought along a friend of hers I'd never met,
one R. When R. saw my digital camera, she exclaimed on how she and I have
the same camera, and proceeded to ask me many photo-taking questions.
Her biggest problem, she said, was taking pictures at dusk. They all came
out blue, she said.
I explained to her that our particular model wasn't very good with low
light, and that you needed to get a better model for that. This is a rough
transcription of the part of our conversation that I will probably never
"Do you use the flash at dusk?"
"Of course. But you still only have a flash radius of six to ten
feet. See that guy there, for instance? He's too far away."
"But I use the zoom!"
That last phrase may well become my benchmark for stupidity. "But
I use the zoom!" Yes, but you're not three, so the concept of the
camera making the image appear closer, not actually bringing the
person closer to you, should register.
"But I use the zoom!"
Say it with me, folks: Duh.
Stupid movie sequel. I rented Matrix Revolutions.
It was stupid. Well, except for the really cool fight scene between Neo
and Agent Smith at the end of the movie. I think they should have put
the scripts to 2 & 3 together, and then cut it down to a single, two-hour
film. It would have been a lot better. I also have Pirates of the Caribbean
on the to-watch list. Tomorrow, probably. I keep on not wanting to put
aside a block of 149 minutes. One hundred forty-nine minutes for a pirate
movie based on a Disneyland attraction? The mind reels.
Speaking of movies, I've been calling the new Will Smith film "Not
My Robot," as it veers so widely from the Asimov book. I'll still
go see it, but I'm not going to be too upset. I figure I'll just pretend
it has almost nothing to do with the novel, and enjoy it for the fun SF
action movie it looks to be. Hey, even Sorena wants to see it, and we
can't get her to see too many films like that.
By the way, yes, I know about the UN vote, and yes, I'm ignoring it for
now. There are more important stupid things to write about. permalink
Today's moment of Kitty Zen: Lord Tig the First.
Yes, it's a big jpeg, but Lord Tig demanded it.
You may leave your messages of adorations in the comments. No tunafish,
please. He's on a diet. permalink
Abu Merang stays on as Prime
Minister, and other Israel notes
In a move that surprises only political naifs, Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei
has said he will go another round with Yasser Arafat. The AP says he's
staying on "only
temporarily, in a caretaker capacity."
Only political naifs believe he was anything but a caretaker prior to
this statement. Arafat has never truly given up any real power, which
is why two thousand of his people marched against corruption in the PA
a few days ago.
Credit to Lair Simon, who's
back from vacation, for Qurei's nickname.
Vanderleun fills us in on the status of Israel's plans for taking
out the Iranian nuclear reactors. The article he quotes states that Israel
has completed rehearsals to take out the Iranian plant before it goes
online. Of course, my biggest question about this: Is the world going
to realize that if Israel does successfully bomb the reactor, it will
only be with close American aid? There is no way the IAF can fly
over this area without alerting the U.S. military.
That's why I don't believe we're doing nothing about Iran's reach for
nuclear weapons. I believe that the Israeli plans have been coordinated
with the U.S. Not that I expect verification of that. And I'm sure the
conspiracy theorists will have a field day if the reactor is taken out
But don't think that this will be another Osirak.
Iran has an air force and anti-aircraft weapons, and is expecting Israel
to make a move on the reactor. Odds are Israeli pilots will die on this
Meanwhile, a group of concerned citizens known as the Council on Foreign
Relations, which includes Zbigniew Brzezinski, says we
should "engage" Iran and urge them to stop trying to produce
nuclear weapons. Hey, it's worked so far, right?
I think we should engage Russia and tell them that they'd better not
ship the fuel rods to Tehran, instead.
The UN General Assembly has postponed their anti-Israelsorry, their
on the separation fence. Apparently, European Union states want to
add something about Israel having the right to defend themselves from
terrorism. Color me surprised if this makes it to the final version. And
color me even more surprised at this AP article which actually tells the
truth about the ICJ ruling:
Like the opinion of the International Court of Justice,
an assembly vote is not legally binding, but both have symbolic value
as international statements of support.
Stop it, AP, you'll make me think you're actually objective again.
Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists, firing from Syrian-occupied Lebanon,
killed two Israeli soldiers in a sniper attack. They say it's in response
for the killing of a high-level Hezbollah terrorist, who died in a car
bomb yesterday that may well have been the work of the Mossad.
News agencies reported that Hizbullah leader Sheikh
Hassan Nasrallah, in an impassioned eulogy for Awali in south Beirut
on Monday afternoon, declared that the attack was perpetrated "either
by Israelis who entered Lebanon using American, European or other foreign
passports or by local Lebanese agents. In any case, the Zionist enemy
bears full responsibility for the martyrdom of Ghaleb Awali. We know
those agents and we will cut off their hands," the reports quoted
Nasrallah as saying.
Dude, I think Israel just cut off one of your hands. (Murray,
perhaps it was a New Zealand passport that was used.)
According to the reports, the Hizbullah chief revealed
that Awali had been assisting the Palestinians in their struggle against
the "Zionist enemy" and he threatened that Israel would pay
the price for the assassination. "He's a martyr of the road to
Palestine, a martyr of Jerusalem, the Aksa mosque, in confronting the
Zionist project," said Nasrallah.
Awali was apparently the main link man between Hizbullah
and Palestinians that the organization, which is armed, financed and
ideologically motivated by Iran, has been supporting since the outbreak
of Palestinian violence nearly four years ago.
Iran has been waging war on many nations since they dumped the Shah.
Check out the latest news from Iraq on how Iran
is interfering in Iraqi internal affairs. This, of course, comes after
the news that some
of the 19 passed through Iran on their way to killing 3,000 Americans.
Sure. Let's enage them. It's working so well so far. permalink
Iraqi body count: Civilians killed
We're constantly getting an updated number for U.S.
and coalition soldiers killed in Iraq since the war began, usually
with the non-objective addition "xxx have been killed since President
Bush declared major operations over." We get estimates of civilian
deaths due to coalition actions. But we never get a total of, say, the
number of Iraqis killed by terrorists in that same time period.
Until now. Interestingly, the wire services have sent out a body count
year of attacks," but they didn't total the fatalities.
By my count, there have been 996* Iraqis killed by (mostly suicide) bomb
attacks. I tried to count only the suicide bomb attacks. Nine
more Iraqis were killed yesterday. The bombers have struck Iraqi police
stations, but most of the victims were Iraqi civilians. Many were women
and children. Few were Americans or soldiers.
Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi keeps taking credit for the bombings. Foreign terrorists
(including Saudis, Egyptians, Iranians, Yemeni, Syrians, palestinians,
and North Africans) have been captured and killed in Iraq. But the media
insist upon attributing the attacks to "insurgents." The Iraqis
themselves call the perpetrators "Arabs" or "foreigners."
Zarqawi only needs to get
eleven seven more Iraqis to equal the
fatality list of the combined coalition forces. I expect that total to
be reached or surpassed within a week.
This is the boilerplate
that AP uses:
Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that
major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 752 U.S. soldiers have died
- 549 as a result of hostile action and 203 of non-hostile causes.
I'd add this line to it.
Terrorist bombs have killed at least 992 Iraqi civilians
since June of 2003, more than the number of U.S. soldiers killed since
the war in Iraq began.
Somehow, I don't expect we're going to see this count in any of the news
*Update: Terrorists killed four
more civilians today. permalink
Arafat caves, seemingly
For the first time since Arafat bowed to pressure to name a prime minister,
he has caved
to pressure and fired his cousin/nephew (they can't make up their
minds which he is), Musa Arafat.
The Palestinian president, Yasser Arafat, bowed to
pressure on Monday and fired his relative, Musa Arafat, as head of security
in the Gaza Strip. His appointment Saturday sparked two days of violent
protests. The dismissal came as the Palestinian cabinet held an emergency
meeting to discuss the political unrest.
But there's a catch: He rehired the same man he fired last week, who
is still part of the corruption that was the cause of the protest in the
Palestinian officials said Mr. Arafat has dismissed
his cousin Musa only two days after appointing him the new chief of
security in Gaza. The embattled Palestinian leader phoned Brigadier
General Abdel Razek Majaide and asked him to return the post he left
last week at Mr. Arafat's request.
I don't think the pals are dumb enough to fall for this. But I think
they will step back before full civil war breaks out.
As for Abu Merang, he's now saying that his resignation stands because
received a response in writing. Watch for him to un-resign soon.
Qureia also said he stood by his resignation, which
he gave Friday to Arafat after a breakdown of security in Gaza and a
wave of kidnappings.
"I have not received a written response,"
Qureia said, indicating that he did not accept Arafat's verbal rejection
of his resignation as final.
Translation: I'll be back as soon as the latest charade is over. Meantime,
Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post has another article on why
Arafat won't be going anywhere soon.
Ahmed Ghaneim, a Fatah Central Committee member and
a staunch critic of the Palestinian president, put it this way, "If
you give me a choice between the model of [US President George W.] Bush
and President Arafat, I will choose Arafat." And as various Fatah
committees which included Ghaneim and fellow members of Fatah's
reform-minded "Young Guard" scrambled to push for political,
military and administrative reforms, only Arafat's primacy remained
unquestioned. For the majority of Palestinians, and especially those
living in the West Bank, it is simple arithmetic: corruption is bad,
but the total anarchy resulting from a coup d'etat is worse.
"Reform cannot be implemented by taking hostages,"
said Ghaneim, referring to Friday's kidnapping of Gaza security chief
Ghazi Jibali and his subsequent sacking. "No, we need to fight
for reform, but in a democratic way." Yet even after these reforms,
"President Arafat will continue being our No. 1 national symbol."
We'll see no real change in his lifetime. And Israel dare not assassinate
him. Stalemate. permalink
Crisis in Gaza
of yesterday aside, there is a true crisis
ongoing in the Gaza Strip that is probably Arafat's most difficult
time since he was exiled to Tunis.
Palestinians will not accept the nomination, and unrest
in Gaza will only grow, Abu Zaida told Army Radio.
"This is infuriating," Abu Zaida said. "This
shows disregard for people and their opinions. This is intolerable disregard,
and in Gaza, thousands will rise up against this decision."
Juma Ghali, commander of the Palestinian navy, submitted
his resignation to protest the appointment as well as the recent instability
in Gaza, described Saturday by Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia
as "unprecendented chaos."
Capping a weekend of crisis in the PA, dozens of Palestinian
gunmen stormed an office of the Palestinian intelligence service early
Sunday, opening fire on security guards inside, smashing furniture and
burning down the one-story building, witnesses said.
Apparently, the Gazans agree with Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz,
who said that, as always, Arafat's
reforms are in name only.
Arafat is attempting to create an illusion of reforms,
but he has no intention of implementing them, said Defense Minister
Shaul Mofaz during this mornings weekly cabinet meeting. He was
referring to the wave of resignations, protests and kidnappings in the
Gaza Strip over the weekend.
Referring to the latest events in the Palestinian Authority,
Mofaz said: Its a game of musical chairs with the same old
familiar tune. The kidnappers view the kidnapping as an opportunity
to pressure Arafat, who continues to retain all authority.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei, whom Lair
Simon has named Abu Merang for the number of times he has quit and
returned, has resigned. Israeli radio is reporting that although Arafat
refuses to accept the resignation, Qurei
will not rescind it. Egypt is sending in advisers hoping to calm the
situation. I don't think they're going to get very far. There is a deep
mistrust of the Egyptian motives right now, fed by Arafat's unwillingness
to share power with anyone.
There's also an analysis
in Ha'aretz about how deeply involved Mohammed Dahlan, former security
chief who was fired when Mahmoud Abbas resigned as the first palestinian
Last week, in an interview to the New York Times, Dahlan
said, "The Gaza Strip is at a crucial juncture; we will either
gain independence or become Somalia."
The military wing of the Fatah in the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip issued an announcement Saturday against the appointment
of Musa Arafat and accused him of corruption.
The weekend events and the show of force by various
groups of Fatah gunmen, including vocal criticism of Arafat, suggest
the rift between Dahlan supporters and those close to Arafat is intensifying.
Saturday's demonstrations were particularly violent
in their tone: One banner claimed "One dog, Jabali, is gone, and
now is the time for another dog, Musa Arafat."
Musa Arafat has been targeted by protesters in the
past, and has had a grenade fired at his offices by men affiliated with
Those close to Dahlan said they will not accept the
appointment of Musa Arafat and are willing to undertake a "frontal
confrontation" to remove him.
But sources close to Dahlan also said the confrontations
will not deteriorate into civil war in the streets but will continue
to take the form of kidnappings and possible assassinations.
Here's the thing: You may have the intention to stop the violence before
it erupts into civil war. But you can't control mobs. Group violence has
a tendency to get out of hand. If this is the case, Dahlan is playing
with fire. This is a people weaned on violence, being inflamed to act
against corrupt PA officials. There was a
riot in the West Bank last week between Christian and Muslim Arabs
over a Muslim peeping tom caught taking pictures of a Christian woman
changing clothes. The territories are a tinderbox, and Dahlan is throwing
in a lit match.
Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post says this
could be very bad for Israel.
One opinion that has held sway in Jerusalem is that
Arafat never reined in the terror because he was actually interested
in a harsh Israeli response that would compel the international community
to step in.
He wanted a chaos born of an Israeli military response
so that the international community would move in and "protect"
Israel didn't play into his hands, and hasn't responded
to the Palestinian terrorism in a way that would enable the introduction
of international forces. Arafat wanted chaos; Israel didn't give it
Now Jerusalem is concerned about a chaos the Palestinians
will generate from within. If there is major blood-letting in Gaza
a miniature Sabra and Shatila it is not difficult to imagine
the Palestinians appealing to the United Nations to send in peacekeepers
to take control of the situation since Israel, which has not yet disengaged
and is still the occupying power, is doing nothing to step in and stop
Arafat will probably weather this storm, as he has weathered every otherbut
it is a real crisis, and it could devolve into a civil war. In which case,
outside forces will have to intervene.
Will he implement real reforms? He may be forced to implement some token
reforms. But Arafat will maintain his power base until the day he dies.
He's proven that many times in the past. permalink
Last week's blogs are archived.
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Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin
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