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Israel is winning the war

Nearly a week after Ahmed Yassin's death, with Google News reaching its high-water mark of more than 5,000 articles on the death (and only about five not criticizing Israel for it), I now believe that Israel is winning the war against the terrorists. Oh, it's a slow-moving sort of win, and it still has a long way to go—but I'm starting to think that the violence that Israelis have experienced since the terror war started in 2000 may be coming near its end.

First we have the physical statistics: Deaths from terror attacks dropped significantly in 2003 compared with 2002. Israel has been targeting—and killing—the palestinian leadership for some time now. Each time a leader is killed, Hamas and the other terrorist groups swear the equivalent of an "earthquake" of revenge. But since Israel started aggressively targeting terrorists and closed down the West Bank and Gaza—and began building the security fence—the number of terrorism attacks and deaths have gone down.

Next we have two different articles quoting Israeli defense officials saying that Hamas has not got the physical capability to do more than they're already doing. Even The New York Times is saying so.

Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Mr. Sharon, said Hamas was trying hard to retaliate but might not succeed in stepping up its violence. "The motivation is at an all-time high, but this is the limit of what they can do, at this stage," he said.

Meanwhile, Ha'aretz goes into much greater detail.

Defense experts have concluded in the last two days that despite the intention of Hamas and other organizations to exact revenge for Israel's assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, there would be no dramatic change in the number or intensity of terror attacks

At one discussion, a Shin Bet representative suggested the Hamas has reached the limit of its capabilities at this point, meaning it undertakes the largest number of attacks it can.

That is based on the fact that for more than a month Hamas has been stepping up its efforts to conduct attacks from Gaza - both inside the Strip, as in the case of the three attacks at Erez junction, and outside, as in the suicide bombings at Ashdod port. Yassin had ordered the expanded Hamas efforts, ahead of an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

This next part is even more important, as many people (including me) thought that the Ashdod attack was far more dangerous than it turned out to be. I have to stop reading DEBKA.

The IDF defines the wave of warnings about unprecedented retaliatory attacks by Hamas as "unnecessary panic." An analysis of the Ashdod attack showed that despite the symbolism of the target, the bombers were far from conducting a "strategic attack."

The chance of dispersing dangerous chemical compounds through the explosion of an explosives belt are considered very slim and even if the bombers had reached the tanks of chemicals at the plant, far from where they blew up, they would have needed far more explosives than they could have carried on their bodies.

More evidence:

The IDF was surprised by the small number of demonstrations after Yassin's assassination. According to some assessments, there were expectations for mass demonstrations and clashes with soldiers along friction points in both Gaza and the West bank. The IDF even geared up for those, especially in the West Bank. But even the Hamas effort to declare a general strike failed to stir much interest and the strike was not evident in most of the West Bank cities.

It is possible that their vengeance will come in the form of "sophisticated" terror attacks, and prefer not to suffer casualties during violent demonstrations. Another explanation general public fatigue from the conflict, especially in light of the economic deterioration in the territories.

I hadn't noticed that. It's possible the pals are finally suffering from "terrorist fatigue" themselves. That would be incredibly good news.

Apparently the Yassin assassination and some of the Israeli statements that followed it created real concern in Yasser Arafat's circles, with them trying to win assurances from the Americans for his safety. So far, the Americans have been evading those efforts.

Now that's the biggest—and most welcome—change of all. I don't know why W. made Ariel Sharon promise not to kill Arafat. I suspect it's because at that point in time, he trusted the State Department enough to believe them when they said that killing Arafat would bring chaos to the pals, and more terrorism to Israel. Apparently, the Bush Administration knows better now. Perhaps all that evidence that the IDF brought out of the Muqata two years ago made an impression.

But here's the most convincing proof, to me, that Israel is winning the terror war. A Fox News reporter managed to track down Abdel Aziz Rantissi, also known as the Pediatrician of Death—and found a man deathly afraid of assassination, paranoid, in hiding, afraid to be in public without surrounding himself with human shields.

Now, Rantissi lives on the move, in secret. He doesn’t answer a phone for fear the Israeli Air Force can use the telephone signal to track and kill him. My best bet was to bump into him.

I knew that Rantissi still appeared in public, but only where there is a thick crowd, as he knows that while Israel is after him, the country does not want to be held accountable for firing into a crowd. So, when he stands in a sea of Palestinians, the people Rantissi claims to represent become his human shields.

It gets better.

Rantissi travels on foot these days because, as he knows better than most, cars make good targets for missile strikes. He had apparently approached the mourning tent through a back alley.

He travels by foot. By foot! You can't get very far on foot, nor move very fast. When they find him, they will get him. And they're constantly looking. He's their current number one most-wanted terrorist now.

There was a brief moment of tension at the mourning tent when a couple of fixed-wing aircraft were spotted flying overhead. Everyone knew they were Israeli; the only aircraft that fly over the Gaza Strip are Israeli. My best guess was that they were drone aircraft keeping an eye on the Hamas leadership.

And then this description of the interview at the reporter's office:

When Rantissi and his security detail arrived, they skipped the elevator and walked up fourteen floors to the office. For some reason, Rantissi doesn’t like elevators. We were ready for them. We had set up a couple of chairs for the interview in one of the rooms from which I had been doing my live reports.

Rantissi’s security aide vetoed that location because it was next to a window. He was afraid Israeli aircraft could target his employer and new leader through a window. In fact, at one point he made Abed close a door two rooms away, because he spotted a window. It might seem at first like paranoid behavior, but when they really are out to get you, it's not paranoia.

No, it's not paranoia. But you can't run an organization efficiently if you are constantly on the run, in hiding, unable to use modern communication equipment, and being tracked by one of the most technologically sophisticated and well-prepared armies on the earth. (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?)

For the first time in a very long time, I'm starting to sense a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. It is only a tiny, tiny sliver. But reading this series of articles enabled me to put some pieces together, and it's beginning to make quite a nice little picture. Israel is winning. | |



Dejafoo all over again

I've decided that I don't need to post the news about terrorism. Omri does it faster and funnier than I've been doing it. Perhaps he and I can start some sort of weblog cooperative and farm out the topics. I call cats, for sure.

Omri, I'm still keeping the anti-Semitism beat. And Muslim ERA watch. But I think I need a new angle. | |

Richmond is burning, and I can smell it from here

Talk about an eerie sense of deja vu. But this time, thankfully, it wasn't Muslim terrorists. The VCU area of downtown Richmond suffered a huge fire this afternoon, one so large that it pre-empted three ABC soaps. I was blissfully unaware of this event, only finding out when I turned on the television to watch my tapes, and saw giant flames shooting out of buildings on West Broad. I'm on what's known as the "southside" of Richmond, about ten minutes quick drive down the highway from the area of the fires.

Lots of college students will be sleeping somewhere else tonight. That's a highly populous area, not all of whom are VCU students. I was looking at some apartments near there. The big problem is that we had some high winds today, and the fire spread to the streets behind Broad Street, which is a huge street, and spread the fire around the area, including to private homes. I feel really bad for the people in the area.

I'm looking at the live shots, and the fires are still far from out. They're under control, but there's a ton of smoke still rising from the area. And as I said—I can smell the smoke from here, some miles to the south. | |

Commenting on comments

I don't believe I'm going to keep the comments. I don't really like the way most of them seem to head. I've deleted one that I felt was extremely hateful (not the off-topic one in the post below), and I frankly don't want to read that sort of thing on this weblog.

When all is said and done, this is not a BBS. It's my weblog. I know what other people say about comments and weblogs, but I have yet to do something because everyone else is doing it. My weblog, my decision. When the comments on my own weblog start depressing me, it's time to dump them.

I may just leave them on the kitty zen posts. | |



Today's moment of kitty zen

Actually, it's a photo essay titled, "All This and the Kits in Sink." There are two narrations: One below the pictures, and one you can read if you put your mouse over each picture. | |

God, I hate the media

Looking at the Google compilation of headlines over the teenaged bomber stopped at the Hawara Checkpoint yesterday, I found the following:

Israelis Help Palestinian Youth Defuse Bomb
Washington Post, DC - 10 hours ago
HAWARA CHECKPOINT, West Bank, March 24 -- A Palestinian teenager wore an oversized red jersey as he approached Israeli soldiers who had received a tip about a ...

Gee, those Israelis are great, aren't they? Some poor palestinian kid comes to them with a bomb, and they help him defuse it. But I guess people must have complained. When you click on the link, the new headline reads:

Teen With Bomb Sets Off a Tense Encounter

The Al Jazeera story is yet another example of why no one should call Al Jazeera a "news" outlet. It should be known as a lies outlet.

Israel 'fabricated' child-bomber story
The Israeli army said the boy told interrogators that his dispatchers promised that he would have sex with 72 virgins in heaven soon after his death.

"We know for sure this is a fabricated story from A to Z. Would you believe that a 13 or 14-year old would agree to blow up himself in return for a hundred shekels which he would receive after his death?

"It seems to me that the Israelis are bad liars as well," said Yaqub Shahin, a director-general of the Palestinian Authority ministry of information.

Wow, the razor-sharp logic of the palestinian spokesliars defeats the truth of the issue every time. Because it's not like the bomber was caught on video, or anything like that. Asshats.

Boy 'suicide bomber' arrested by Israelis

Independent "publishes" truth.

'Little bomber' fascinates Israeli media

BBC "too stupid" to comprehend the evil of sending retarded children to blow themselves up.

By the way, would someone please explain to me how Jack Straw can condemn the death of Yassin on the day before his nation froze the assets of the leaders of that same organization? You don't make a decision like that overnight. It comes as the culimation of months or years of research. And yet, he had the nerve to condemn Israel for killing Yassin.

It seems the spirit of Neville Chamberlain lives on in Britain.

Reuters has been taken over by pod people

Check out this article currently leading the World section in Reuters. Oh, it starts out normally enough, except for that headline:

Arabs face stark choice: reform or ruin
The Arab world, which failed to catch the wave of change that brought Latin America, eastern Europe and swathes of Asia into the democratic fold over three decades, now faces the choice of reform or ruin, analysts say.

Arab leaders, however, long entrenched in power they owe to their armies and hordes of secret police, are nervous of change, saying the choice is between reform and stability.

From Cairo to Riyadh, Arab leaders meeting at the annual Arab summit in Tunis on March 29-30 are scurrying to find a model of reform to counter Washington's new "Greater Middle East" initiative, which calls for free elections, empowerment of women, civil society, modernisation and fighting poverty.

Arab leaders argue the sudden introduction of free elections may only serve to place political and military power into the hands of West-hating Islamist radicals and that real reform can come only after the West gets serious about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But then you read paragraphs like this:

Analysts say the stagnant and ossified Arab order is not just a disaster for its citizens, but a worldwide threat that has spawned Islamist radicals hostile to the West and to Western support of the autocrats that mostly rule them.

"No one can deny that the Arab world is in urgent need of radical reform", says Patrick Seale, biographer of former Syrian strongman Hafez al-Assad. "With a few exceptions, its social, political and economic life is profoundly stagnant and corrupt".

"Political freedoms, pluralism, social justice, good governance and the rule of law are all absent. In many countries, ruling elites have remained in power for far too long and have robbed their countries with impunity".

Reformists say the present inequality of access to wealth with a well-heeled elite taking the lion's share must be urgently addressed. Arab governments, facing a demographic explosion, should also create jobs for their disgruntled youth.

[...] Above all, they said, the initiative was an insincere distraction because it failed to address the burning issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which they say complicates reform.

But academics across the Arab world say the argument that reform should depend on a Middle East settlement is futile.

Arab leaders, they say, have used the Arab-Israeli conflict and the threat of Islamists' rising to power as an alibi for doing nothing. Arab leaders, they say, should blame themselves for a decline which has encouraged Washington to dictate reform.

And here's the show-stopper:

According to the Arab Human Development Report 2002-2003, compiled by leading Arab academics, 44 percent of Egyptians are illiterate while Yemen has an estimated rate of 52 percent.

"Each Arab country has been defeated by Israel without an invasion because the leaders have ignored the basic needs of their people," said Saudi academic Khalil al-Khalil.

"Illiteracy, unemployment, human rights, health and education have been pressing issues for the past 50 years."

Benjamin Orbach, a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy the lack of a Palestinian state has no effect on illiteracy in the Arab world.

"Were there are a viable Palestinian state created tomorrow, illiterate and unemployed Arabs would remain illiterate and unemployed," he wrote in the Daily Star newspaper. "Reforms are not in lieu of a resolution of a Palestinian conflict."

Wow. This is in Reuters? What happened to the Editor of Anti-Semitic News Articles? Is he off today? Is all his staff taking a vacation? Did he die?

Then again, perhaps this is just your typical bait-and-switch. They've gotta be readying the mother of all anti-Israel articles for release.

Despite the bleak conditions, analysts say change is inevitable because Washington -- haunted by the September 11 attacks in which Arab hijackers killed nearly 3,000 people in one day -- will not let Arab leaders rest until they address all grievances in their systems.

"The Middle East is the greatest source of disturbance and instability. This violence spread to Europe and the U.S. and there is a limit to the extent the United States and Europe will put up with it," Seale told Reuters.

Wow. Just—wow. | |

Saudi ERA watch

A former reporter for the Arab News vents some spleen on the masculinity of the Middle Eastern male: Single life beats marriage to an emasculated man. (Nice headline, that.)

The title of the provocative article was no less biting than its content: "A call to Arab women: A single life is a thousand times better than marriage to a man in this miserable East."

Up to about half a year ago, Al Huwayder had no reason to write on the Internet. She was an important journalist for the Saudi newspaper Al Watan, where with great daring she expressed her views about the status of women in Arab countries in general and in Saudi Arabia in particular.

Last August, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah ordered that her work at the newspaper be terminated because she "damaged the foundations of the nation and wrote about issues not permitted by Shari'a" (Islamic religious law)." Al Huwayder is not the only journalist to have been dismissed in Saudi Arabia. Three months earlier, for example, the editor of Al Watan, Jamal Khashoggi, was fired in the wake of a cartoon he published. The cartoon depicted a suicide bomber with an explosives belt tied around his waist and religious rulings shaped like sticks of dynamite rolled up inside.

And what is the result of this woman being scorned? (Shakespeare really was right; hell hath no fury like it.)

"Most Arab men have been emasculated since they were young. They have no power to give, and therefore they are incapable of granting a respectable life to anyone. There are no exceptions here, according to the rule that says: A person who lacks something, is unable to give it."

[...] "Let's begin with the original land of the Arabs, Saudi Arabia. The most important characteristic borne by the men of this country is the impotence complex. That's the reason why the most common medication among them is a drug against impotence. These men spend more money on its purchase than all the men in the world, in order to achieve the missing sense of masculinity. If we examine them under a microscope, we will see that they are pathetic

Ouch! What about the rest of the Arab states?

From here Al Huwayder goes on to Iraq, where "blood flows as quickly as the flowing of the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. And what remains of its men? The remains of a Nazi regime." And so on to Syria, Jordan, and even Palestine and Egypt - countries in which the men, says Al Huwayder, are pathetic and humiliated. They live in poor countries "but material poverty is no disgrace, the disgrace is their poverty of thought, which prevents them from realizing their ignorance when they link the honor of the nation to the blood of a woman."

Al Huwayder ends her geographic survey of men without finding even one country in which there are men who are worthy of Saudi women or of Arab women in general. She says that in Saudi Arabia "there is nothing that should arouse in you the feeling of shame at being single, or regret about the years of solitude. The land of the Arabs is full of men who are losers, men who are not worthy of you or of your status. Is it logical that after a long fast you should break your fast with a meal lacking taste or smell, and accompany defective men all your lives?"

May I say that I'm really starting to like this woman? But hey, what about all those women in Arab countries?

Al Huwayder has strong words for Saudi women as well. In another article she published on the site, she accuses the women of having become accustomed "to laziness, to relying on someone else, and to waiting for the men to bring loot and gifts from "the hunting fields." Most of the women in the Gulf states are opposed to an improvement in their conditions. The women complain about the fact that society denies them the right to decide, whether it's a decision about whom to marry or agreement to have lifesaving surgery done [women need the approval of their guardian for operations - Z.B.]. They naively believe that society will grant them these rights without a specific demand on their part. Women will continue to be the dead half of society as long as they run after the newest products of cosmetics companies or the latest fashion in clothing."

I figure it won't be long until a fatwa is issued for her life. But then, she's right. No nation that suppresses half its population will ever thrive. You can quote me on that. | |



Imshin is back from her break

And she's blogging about the death of Yassin. And quoting Bugs Bunny (that's my favorite quote, too).

Funny how people seem to think that an old cripple can be harmless, based purely on the fact that he is old and crippled, oh and a religious leader. Might I point out that, since so many of the most terrible wars in human history have been religiously motivated, I hardly see his being a religious leader as proof of his harmlessness.

I used to say about a certain guy at work that he was harmless. I really believed it too. I knew he wasn’t much use either, but it takes all kinds, you know. So he wasn’t the greatest of workers. Even people who aren’t very talented deserve to earn a decent living. At least he didn’t do anyone any harm, and he was quite a pleasant bloke.

In 1995 he was sent to prison for three years, convicted of drug dealing and a few other crimes that left his department in a bad way.

[...] Hey people, get real! The reason there have been less terrorist attacks lately is not because Yassin was a “moderating element” (I nearly fell off my chair with mirth, when I heard that one on the two o’clock news, on the day of the killing. Who was it who said it? Arafat? Well, isn’t that the pot calling…oh, never mind), but because we have been kicking the sorry backsides of his loyal followers.

That link is to an excellent Opinion Journal piece by Bret Stephens, editor of the Jerusalem Post. Nick S. sent me the link earlier.

I'm with you, Imshin. So are a lot of people. Check out Frank's comments, you'll love them. | |

Palestinian child abuse

Yet another palestinian child was persuaded to carry a bomb across the Erez checkpoint.

A 14-and-a-half-year-old Palestinian boy wearing a suicide bomber belt was captured Wednesday afternoon by IDF troops near the Hawara roadblock near Nablus, the same place an 11-year-old boy was caught with a bomb last week.

The boy, Hosni Muhammad Bilal Abdu from Masahiya neighborhood in Nablud, aroused suspicions when he reached the roadblock. Soldiers from the Paratroopers 202 Brigade aimed their weapons at him, and he panicked.

Seeing that the boy was "unusually swollen" around the chest area, he was checked by soldiers at the roadblock, who ordered him to lift his t-shirt, where they discovered a large gray suicide bomb belt on his chest with a detonation device attached to it.

[...] The belt contained 8kg of explosives, and was detonated in a controlled explosion after it was taken off the Palestinian child.

Lt. Tamir Milrad, an officer at the checkpoint said, "We saw that he had something under his shirt."

"He told us he didn't want to die. He didn't want to blow up," Milrad added.

Channel Two news reported that the boy received 100 NIS for carrying the belt and exploding near Israeli targets.

[...] The family of the boy, Hussam Abdo, said he was mentally slow.

"He doesn't know anything, and he has intelligence of a 12 year old," his brother, Hosni, said.

I have no words. | |

Fear factor

Yesterday morning was one of those days when everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I spilled the milk. I burned the toast. I dropped things, bumped into things, forgot things. When I went out to my car, locked the apartment door behind me, sat down behind the wheel and realized I'd left my purse in the house. So when I got to the climbing gym, I told M. to make absolutely dead sure that she checked me every single time, because a mistake on the climbing rope has far more severe consequences, especially if you're up forty or fifty feet. (And I'm not even going to mention how I slipped off the bouldering wall from a height of two feet, missed the mat, and fell backwards on my ass in front of the entire management staff, all of whom are very senior climbers. Nope. Talk about embarrassing.)

In spite of all that, I decided to warm up on the 5.6 route that scares me because you are on the edge of the wall leaning over nothing in a few spots. That fear of heights thing, y'know. But I did it fairly easily, and felt confident enough to try to conquer the route that I've been unable to finish to date. It's a 5.8 route that's close to fifty feet high, and not only do you lean over nothing in the middle of it, but you have to do it using some really awkward holds, and then changing your body position while leaning over that scary nothingness. I have frozen at the point twice so far. Yesterday, I told M. I'd try it, and as we surveyed the route, I pointed out to her exactly where I froze and told her why. "You're not gonna freeze this time," she said. I wasn't nearly as confident. But up I went, and then I hit the point where I generally stop.

Y'know, you really can stick the fear down to a manageable place, sometimes. I got one hold past the freeze spot, then another, and then I just took the rest of the route slowly. I had to stop and rest a couple of times, since the route is a lot more upper-arm intensive, but I touched the top of the wall. And made the mistake of looking down. Yikes.

Well, I'll handle the looking down part another time. | |



Other people's words

Michele fisks Fisk. Of course, the asshat is supporting the poor, old, crippled founder of Hamas, the terrorist group that has murdered and maimed more Israelis than any other. Because Fisk is just. That. Stupid.

Alllah is a jooooooo! Frank J. would be my sweetie if I were ten years younger and lived in Florida. You might not want to be drinking if you read that post, and you certainly don't want to be if you read this one. Love his analysis of Hamas.

Linking to myself. Sounds a bit dirty, doesn't it? But while looking for the article below by Dov Fisher, on how the whole world can be wrong except for Israel, I found this, which rather proves that Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount did not start the Intifada—contrary to both popular belief and palestinian spokesliars.

Linking to Lynn. I haven't done this in a while. If your blood pressure is up over some of the items you read here, simply go over to Lynn's and see if you can get the top of your head through your ceiling. Yeah, this one is unbelievable. The world is excoriating Israel for killing a terrorist. I don't recall the Pope releasing a statement on the Ashdod terror attack. But then, I can't read Italian. Perhaps I'm misunderstand the results of this search.

LT Smash went to the anti-war protests. And he came back with a look at the mindset inside the loony lefties. Sad and scary at the same time.

Friends of Micronesia. No, really. It's a new group blog, and I'm giving them a shout-out. In fact, I think a few of you other new bloggers sent me emails and I tried to link, but the emails slid down the pile and are hidden somewhere in the middle of thousands of messages. Resend. Can't hurt. (By the way, don't title them "Check this out!" or "Hi there!" or "Hi!" or "Meryl, read this!" or "Seeexy wooomeeen!") You know, I'm not Instapundit, but I can send a few people your way. And if you're someone I used to link to, but haven't in a while, you can send me email, too. It's hard to read all the weblogs you'd like to read. Too many good ones, thankfully.

Feel better, Kelley. Yikes. She's got a lump in her throat, and is on the way to the specialist. We're pullin' for you, kiddo.

1776 has been banned in Virginia. Kevin has the details, and I have a very surprised look on my face. I love that film!

Tim Blair fisks Fisk. But then, he always does. If you're not reading Tim Blair regularly, you should be.

Okay. That's it. I'm done. Scrubs is on in five minutes. | |

Today's moment of kitty zen

Tig hasn't had any pictures up lately, but then, he hasn't been all that photogenic, either. I was getting ready to go teach little Jews how to become big Jews (my favorite weapon against anti-Semites; I teach fourth grade at my synagogue's religious school), and found Tig in my spare room inside a comic box that's empty because, well, cats like boxes, and there you have it. And here you have Tig. I'll be entering this picture in the Carnival of the Cats for next week, Lair.

Tig in a box

The picture is actually flipped. He was lying on his side, facing away from me, but it looks better this way. If you want to see how it looks originally, stand on your head while reading this post. Or turn your monitor upside down. | |

Can the whole world be wrong?

Nearly two years ago, as the greatest numbers of Jews were murdered since the Holocaust and the world stood by and told Israel that she needed to beg for peace with the murderers instead of calling up her reserves and sending them into Gaza and the West Bank, my Texas name-twin sent me this essay, which at that time was making the rounds via email. It wasn't in the Forward at that time, and I sought out the author and asked permission to reprint it. I never did get around to it. Now I have.

"The whole world is demanding that Israel withdraw. I don't think the whole world, including the friends of the Israeli people and government, can be wrong." — Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary General, speaking in Madrid, Spain

At this moment in time, many Jews who love and support Israel hear the soft voice within, asking the question to which Kofi Annan recently alluded in Madrid: Can we alone be right, while the whole world around is wrong?

The evidence that we are standing on the other side of the "whole world" is manifest. The Arab League is united in condemnation, and Egyptian students march for an end to their country's diplomatic relations with Israel that were engraved at Camp David. The United Nations Security Council roundly condemns Israel several times in mere weeks, and its human rights commission again takes up the Durban chant against Zionism that was silenced by September 11. The European Union is rife with talk of boycotting the Jewish state. Synagogue attacks in France give vent to the feeling expressed with gentility by the French diplomat who termed Israel "that sh—-y little state." All three major political parties in Germany vie to lead their nation in condemning Israel. England accuses Israel of using British-made tanks illegally. Mobs attack Jews from Ukraine to Belgium to the Netherlands. The pope condemns Israel for its military presence outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, while armed Arab terrorists repose inside, holding monks and nuns as icons for terror.

We Jews are bemused. Are we the only ones who see the unrelenting suicide bombings of women and children at pizza stores, of teenagers at a discotheque, of families at a Seder celebration? After 19 months of slaughter at open-air fruit markets and bus stations and bat mitzvah parties, deadly shootings of motorists, stabbings of school children in caves, has no one seen this but us? Do we alone notice that the attacks target Jewish and Arab civilians alike throughout pre-June 1967 Israel, from Haifa to Hadera, West Jerusalem to Beersheba?

The whole world demands Israel take risks for peace with Yasser Arafat — again. Are we the only ones who perceive that, after he was conferred a Nobel peace prize and given authority to create a new polity and a new atmosphere for coexistence, he desecrated the next eight years by wielding television to inculcate grotesque images of murder, radio to disseminate a culture of hate, schools and summer camps to train young people to murder the Jews they were being taught to hate? Can no one but us decipher the receipts he signed, authorizing funds to purchase weapons of terror?

The whole world endorses President Bush's call for war against terrorists and those who harbor them. The United States invades Afghanistan to uproot the infrastructure of terror and hunkers down there for seven months, preparing to extend the incursion into Pakistan. Aerial bombs strafe cities. Thousands of civilian non-combatants are believed dead. The Taliban government crumbles, but the incursion continues. We must find Osama bin Laden. We must find Mullah Omar. We must reach Daniel Pearl's killers. And we yet shall begin the mother of all incursions into Iraq.

We Jews see this. We also see the same "whole world" roundly condemn Israel for its incursion into a jungle of terror. Israel will not drop incendiary payloads from the air on civilians, so Israeli reservists, husbands and fathers, die in house-to-house fighting in Jenin, where the terrorists booby-trap buildings, station snipers and outfit children as human bombs. Israel asks that Arafat turn over the assassins of an Israeli cabinet minister and the mastermind of the Karine-A affair that tried to smuggle 50 tons of explosives to his minions. But the whole world wants Israel instead to pull back while the bombers of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade and the Tanzim play for time. Doesn't the whole world see what we see? Can we alone be right?

Well, yes. If we Jews are anything, we are a people of history. From our first patriarch to Israel's precision-targeted destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, which laid the foundation for a successful Operation Desert Storm and the rescue of Kuwait, our history provides the strength to know that we can be right and the whole world wrong.

Read the rest. Really. It will make you feel just a tiny bit better next time you see that the world wants Israel to lie down and die. | |

Jews get blown up, no one cares. Arabs get blown up, world freaks

USA Today's front page is all about Yassin and the reaction. Every major newspaper in the world is covering the story on page one. Last night at 11:40, there were 2700 results for the Google News search on Yassin. Today at 1:40, there are 3853 results.

The world's obsession with Jews is mystifying to me. We make up .002 percent of the world's population. We account for exactly one of the world's hotspots. There are generally hundreds of wars going on at any given time. The Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq have full-blown military action going on. Chechen rebels are still fighting Russians. Iran has its own insurrection problems, as do various South American countries. Spain just suffered a devastating terrorist attack. There is China and Tibet, India and Pakistan, and a host of other troubles.

And yet, the world is fixated on Israel. The world insists that if Israel would only make peace with the palestinians, the world would be a much better place. Because of course, if Israel gave the pals their own state, the Chechnyan rebels would immediately throw down their arms, praise Allah, and make peace with the Russians. The Paks would stop fighting over Kashmir, shake hands with India, and say, "After all, we're brothers in all but religion, let's be friends." The Muslim and Christian wars in the Sudan would end, because it's Israel that is causing most of the strife in the world. And those Tibetan monks would come to some kind of an agreement with China, which would, in turn, stop threatening Taiwan. And Kim Jong Il would suddenly see the light, stop producing nukes, stop starving, torturing, and gassing his people. Saudi Arabia would declare that now that the Israeli aggression is over, they will stop funding Al Qaeda, start pumping millions of gallons of oil per day to lower world oil prices, and allow Christians to build churches in Saudi Arabia. Every Arab nation would suddenly declare that they are moving on the path to democracy, and away from Islamic fundamentalism, because finally, the pals have their own state.

Yes, if only Israel would make peace with the palestinians, the world would be a better place.

There's an old song from a Broadway show of the same name: Stop the world, I want to get off. I'm thinking this afternoon I just want to say: Fuck the world. It's filled with unbelievable idiots.

Update: It seems that Omri and I are on the same wavelength today. | |

Googlebomb the Jew-haters

Since my post titled "The Roots of Jewish Anger" is now in the spike file (needs more percolating), Judith Weiss gave me a bit of an outlet for my spleen: Seems the number one site that comes up when you Google "Jew" is a Jew-haters' site. Well, can Jew believe that? Would Jew like to make it fall off the page? Jew wanna join my campaign? Jew can go here to read more.

And if that's not enough, here's more: Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew (sung to the Monty Python "Spam" song).

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Variations on Yassin

Allison Kaplan Sommers boils down the Israeli points of view on the assassination of Yassin:

That is what these three-plus years of Intifada have done to the Israeli public.

They see that when we try to make nice and compromise we get terror attacks. And when we're tough and aggressive we get terror attacks. Nothing we do seems to lower the motivation to slaughter Israeli civilians -- men, women, or children -- and in the case of Hamas, to see the state of Israel destroyed. So since there's absolutely nothing to lose by getting Yassin, and something to possibly gain -- at least temporarily derailing the Hamas leadership structure, and hopefully weakening it long-term -- so why not go ahead and do it?

It's a similar equation as the fence. Yes, building this fence is pissing off the Palestinians big-time. But does anyone think that if we stopped building it, they would be so happy and grateful, terror attacks would stop? No. No fence equals attempts at terror attacks, and a fence equals attempts at terror attacks. So why in the world shouldn't we support building a fence in the hopes of foiling a number of these attacks?

With nothing left to lose, let's try to do what we can to protect ourselves. That's the sentiment of the man on the street.

Clearly, the Israeli public seems to have all but given up on figuring out how to make the right moves in order to nudge the Palestinians towards wanting a peaceful two-state solution. They've given up. That's why there's generally support for Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan -- otherwise known as the "We're So Disgusted with the Palestinians, We're Getting the Hell Away From Them and Building a Big Wall" plan. And if they try to wage war from the other side of the wall, they'll get the same treatment as Yassin.

She's not the only one who thinks this way. In fact, that's what I wrote last night when I first heard about the Hamas threats of retaliation.

Omri points out a Jerusalem Post columnist who says the EU politicians whining about international law don't have an internationally legal leg to stand on.

Equally, international diplomacy generally assumes that any dispute is ultimately resolvable through compromise and negotiation. What does a country do when the other side – Hamas, even if one were to believe that Arafat might ever make peace – openly expresses an intention to destroy it and implements that policy? Another international assumption is that by targeting terrorist leaders, Israel provokes them to attack. But no such encouragement is needed. The attacks will continue anyway and they do so more effectively with a leadership that enjoys immunity from punishment for its deeds.

Scroll up and down the main page; Omri is in fine form again.

This is a nice one on how reprehensible the European leaders' reaction has been, via David Bernstein.

Dave of Israelly Cool has a really, really, really good quote about Arafat. Go there and read the quote. And if anyone is in the mood to Photoshop a picture of Arafat with a target on him and email it to me, I do believe our Arafat Dead Pool needs to be revisited.

I was wondering if someone out there, perhaps a Muslim fanatic (or one of their defenders), could explain this to me: Yassin and other Islamic terrorists insist that to become a shahid is the ultimate in human perfection. As you can see from my post immediately below, even Yassin said if he was to die a shahid, it would be the happiest day in his life.

What the hell are they all complaining about, then? Goddamned terrorists. You just can't please them, not nohow, not noway. | |

Sheik Ahmed Yassin: Terrorism, in his own words

For those idiots out there who think that the execution of Ahmed Yassin was a bad idea, I present my version of In His Own Words:

"When they stop attacks against our civilians, against our people, then we will not touch their civilians," he went on, while adding that "there are no civilians in Israel, they are all military, all occupiers."—Sydney Morning Herald via AFP, August 15, 2002

“Our struggle will continue until the liberation of Palestine”— AFP, October 2, 2002

"But Islam does not teach Muslims to make reconciliation with aggressors or occupiers that kill innocent people and ravage the land. [... ]So, you must defend yourself, your land, your dignity, your property, and your country. One cannot simply tolerate that an aggressor stole one’s land and murdered one’s people. To do so is not reconciliation or tolerance but surrender, defeat and a trouncing.

These days, the Israeli and American enemies are trying to confuse the terminology of “reconciliation” and “self-defense.” Islam is a world system calling for tolerance and reconciliation with all religions. It deals with them in the spirit of brotherhood, but it also does not accept aggression. [...]

The aggressors want us, in the name of reconciliation and Islam, to give up and surrender our occupied lands.[...] Islam breaks all barriers between countries concerning commerce and trade. But in the current situation, the colonizers and occupiers want to open all the gates of the Middle East on behalf of Israel. These gates haven’t opened yet, and therefore they are doing their best to damage relationships between the Arab countries. This will maintain and support Israeli existence at the expense of the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim nations."—Al Jazeera, first published at Bitter Lemons, August 26, 2003

Found on CAMERA:

“Reconciliation with the Jews is a crime.”

“Resistance will move forward. Jihad will continue, and martyrdom operations will continue until the full liberation on Palestine.” (Dec. 28, 2002.)

"The day in which I will die as a shahid [martyr] will be the happiest day of my life." (Al-Quds, July 26, 1998.)

Arafat "is Palestinian, and I am Palestinian," said Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas. "We have the same problem now. Israel is our enemy."—IHT, via NYT, April 4, 2002

"No doubt our resistance will continue, even if they withdraw from Gaza," he said. "Resistance will continue until the end of the occupation."—Anchorage Daily News, via AP, March 9, 2004

"All of Israel, Tel Aviv included, is occupied Palestine. So we're not actually targeting civilians -- that would go against Islam. "—St. Petersburg Times, August 11, 2001

"[Israel is] a Jewish apartheid state on the land of Palestine."

"[If Israelis want a Jewish state] they can found a state in Europe."—Sydney Morning Herald, December 8, 2003

"They [Israelis] should not feel safe."—Jerusalem Post, December 28, 2002

"The weapons that our people carry to defend our land and our people, nobody can confiscate them. We can only talk about this after liberating the land. Taking weapons means surrender and defeat."—Jerusalem Post, September 24, 2003.

"Resistance will escalate against this enemy until they leave our land."—Jerusalem Post, January 14, 2004

Any which way you turn it, it comes out terrorist. Not "spiritual leader." Terrorist. | |

Bad Passion jokes, and I didn't make them

I was wondering how tacky the headlines for this would get. Thanks to Google News, I don't have to wonder.

MTV: Zombies Drive Jesus From Top Of Box Office>
Anyone else getting a mental image of Jesus running from Zombies in an American shopping mall?

USA Today: Box office's No. 1 rises from the 'Dead'
Ha. Ha. I get it. Wow, that was clever.

The Globe and the Mail: Zombies knock Jesus off top
Same kind of images here as above, only this time, like, on a mountain or something.

Winnipeg Sun: Flesh feast tops Christ
What is with you Canadians?

Reuters: Zombies Push Jesus from Top of North American Box Office
I read the article. Reuters doesn't blame the Jews, though I'm sure they wanted to.

ABC Online: Jesus battles zombies at the US box office
Now that one, I like. It's subtle, though. I want Jesus to win. You always want to defeat the zombies, because they eat people. Is this the ABC's way of helping to convert Jews? By having us root for Jesus in his battle against the evil zombies? Of course, it's a Reuters story.

Montreal Gazette: Zombies kill Passion
Look! The zombies did it, not the Jews!

Next week, watch for "Jesus back from the dead" headlines if Passion takes the number one spot again. You know they're going to do it. | |

Targeting terrorists

While the world weeps its crocodile tears for the death of Hamas head honcho Ahmed Yassin, you might want to take a look at this article in the Middle East Forum that discusses the pros and cons of targeted assassination. Hat tip: Nikita.

Another drawback: assassinations of key political and military activists may invite similar attempts on the lives of Israeli leaders. The death of Abu-‘Ali Mustafa, secretary-general of the PFLP, assassinated in August 2001, prompted the killing two months later of Israeli minister of tourism Rehavam Ze'evi. Following the killing of Salah Shihada, a Palestinian militant group, the Popular Army Front–Return Battalions, responded by releasing a hit list of twenty prominent Israeli officials, with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the top.[14] Targeting Palestinian militants has put at risk thousands of IDF officers and their families who may become targets of Palestinian retaliatory action. This threat is not taken lightly in the IDF. For the first time in Israel's history, Israeli generals now have bodyguards assigned to them.

However, many Israelis dismiss the argument that the killing feeds a vicious cycle of death and violence that might not be to Israel's benefit. They believe there is no causality between Israel's actions and the Palestinians' decision to embrace terror. "Islamic Jihad and others do not need excuses to carry out attacks," said Israel's former deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh, "since in any case they are constantly trying to harm Israelis."[15]

What is less obvious to the critics is the number of attacks that have been thwarted through the masterminds' removal. "Ticking bomb," a well-known term in counterterrorism jargon, refers to a terrorist or a group of terrorists in the process of launching an attack. Killing the perpetrator or his dispatcher stops the clock. The Karmi assassination was undertaken to prevent him from carrying out his plans, which included the assassination of a prominent Israeli. ‘Umar Sa‘adah, the head of the Hamas military wing in Bethlehem, killed in July 2001, was planning a major attack at the closing ceremony of the Maccabiah Games, the Jewish olympics. [16] At the time of his assassination, Salah Shihada was in the process of organizing a "mega-attack" of six terror operations that were to take place simultaneously.[17] Nobody will ever know the scope of the bloodbath that was prevented by thwarting these attempts. These acts never made headlines; they constitute the silent terror—the terror that never happened.

[...] To assess the real impact of targeted killing on the infrastructure of terrorist groups, one needs to understand their organizational culture, psychology, and behavior. The operational branches of organizations such as Hamas or the PIJ consist of three layers: political-military command, intermediate level, and what can be referred to as the "ground troops." The political-military command echelon—most of which is in the Gaza Strip—consists of a small group, no more than a dozen activists, responsible for funding, political and spiritual guidance, and direction of the organization's strategy. They maintain regular contact with the headquarters of terrorist groups throughout the Arab world as well as with senior leaders of the PA and chiefs of its security forces.[20]

The intermediate level of command is a group slightly larger in size, a few dozens in each Palestinian city. Its members are involved in planning operations, and recruiting, training, arming, and dispatching terrorists. The different cells are loosely connected, and their members do not usually operate outside their area of jurisdiction. Members of this group, especially those living in Gaza, meet frequently with the senior leadership and receive daily orders and funds to finance their operations. Unlike members of the first group, intermediate-level activists are not so familiar to the public, and their killing does not evoke the same rage as does the targeting of senior leaders. For this reason, Israel has so far preferred to target as few senior leaders as possible and focus on members of the second group.

Israel has always believed that draining the swamp is more important than fighting the mosquitoes: the infrastructure of the terror organizations, those who initiate, plan, or facilitate terror attacks as well recruiters, dispatchers, and fundraisers are just as culpable as those who actually pull the trigger or detonate the bomb. Hence, members of the second group are considered "ticking bombs" even if they are not those who personally carry out the attacks.

[...] Despite defiant Palestinian rhetoric, Palestinian activists' fear of being on Israel's target list is paralyzing, and that is exactly what Israel wants. Explained Sharon:

The plan is to place the terrorists in varying situations every day and knock them off balance so that they will be busy protecting themselves.[22]

While on the run, the Palestinian terrorist's energy is devoted to survival rather than to planning the next attack. The terrorist detaches himself from his close circle of friends and family and begins to live a fugitive's life. He is forced to spend each night in a different location, often sleeping in the open field. Hours each day are wasted looking for a safe haven to spend the coming night. Most difficult is the distance from his home and family. He knows that any contact with his wife or parents could cost him his life. Consequently, he is completely at the mercy of his confidants, not knowing which one of them might be an Israeli collaborator.

Read the whole thing. It's excellent. | |

Speaking ill of the dead

Of course it's wrong. of course I shouldn't make fun of the dead, even those responsible for the mass murder of Jews for the past decade or so. But this comment on LGF made me laugh out loud:

Insensitive! Israeli Radio 88.8 FM has just finished playing the Dave Clark Five's double-number one single (from 1964..) "Bits and Pieces" and "Glad all Over".

Of course, she's kidding. Of course, it's a meme I could wrap my brain around. I'll start: "I Don't Like Mondays." | |

A fortress made of what?

The Financial Times has some background on how the Paks know that Al-Zawahiri is their high-value target: It was a car chase gone wrong.

But according to senior intelligence officials, the hunt for Mr al-Zawahiri began last Tuesday when Pakistani troops fired on three Jeeps driving out of a village, apparently to escape the increasing military presence in the area.

The troops were surprised to discover that one of the vehicles was bullet-proof.

They immediately thought it might be one of the six to eight bullet-proof vehicles believed to have been smuggled into Afghanistan by al-Qaeda in the late 1990s for use by its leaders. "The jeep in the front and another one at the back both took hits and bullets penetrated. But the one in the centre had bullets ricochet back and the driver kept on speeding away," said a senior intelligence official. "This was the time when our people on the ground panicked and one officer there said, 'This must be a big fish' ."

The Jeep stopped only when its tyres were hit. In the ensuing drama, at least three gunmen jumped out of the vehicle to fire on Pakistani troops, while two other gunmen helped a passenger flee and take cover nearby.

You gotta love the Pakistani army. What a bunch of courageous fighters. "Ohmigod, they're shooting at us!"

The passenger being whisked away, who may have been hit before being carried inside a fortress made of mud, appeared to fit Mr al-Zawahiri's description.

"Our people kept on observing this group and ... photographs were taken," said another intelligence official. The photos have since been shared with US intelligence officials and Pakistani officials say that Mr al-Zawahiri's identity has been almost established.

But this is the part of the article that slays me:

The Pakistani government said the fierce resistance from a group of militants holed up in a compound made of mud was the only element suggesting a "high-value target" was among them.

A compound made of mud? Mud? You have got to be kidding me. They're hiding behind mud walls and the Paks can't get them out? Good God, just send one of our helicopters over there and be done with it. | |



Scratch one terrorist leader: Israel gets Yassin

My brother just called. CNN reports Sheik Ahmed Yassin dead. The man responsible for the death and wounding of thousands upon thousands of Israelis (and more than a few non-Israelis) is dead. The IAF got him in a missile strike.

Israel promised to start targeting Hamas' leaders. This time, they didn't miss.

GAZA CITY - Israel Air Force helicopters fired missiles at Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin as he left a mosque near his house at daybreak Monday, residents said, and Hamas officials and witnesses said he was killed.

Witnesses said Israeli helicopters fired three missiles at Yassin and two bodyguards as they left the mosque, killing them instantly. Hamas officials confirmed that he had been killed. Four people were killed and 12 wounded in the attack, witnesses said.

Yussef Haddad, 35, a taxi driver, said he saw the missiles hit and kill Yassin and the bodyguards. "Their bodies were shattered," he said.

Yassin was by far the most senior Palestinian militant killed in more than three years of Israeli-Palestinian fighting. Thousands of angry Palestinians gathered around his minutes after the attack, calling for revenge against Israel.

Announcing Yassin's death, the Hamas leadership said, "Sharon has opened the gates of hell. and nothing will stop us from cutting off his head," referring to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon."

Yeah, that's going to be a real change in Hamas' techniques. The overwhelming majority of suicide attacks in Israel have been carried out by Hamas.

However, let's not pretend: The pals are going to be working overtime to get bombs in now, and will then claim they're "revenge" for Yassin's death. This, in spite of the fact that Israel is thwarting would-be suicide bombers every single day. Yes, they'll ratchet up the attempts. And Israel will ratchet up the defense.

And I guarantee you that someone is going to mention how mean and cruel Israel was for targeting and killing a quadriplegic, even though he was a quadriplegic who planned, inspired, and helped cause the murder of hundreds. The Passover Massacre was Hamas handiwork. Do you remember that one? I do. It was a turning point in my life, and augured the changeover to what you read now on a daily basis. I barely touched politics before that bloody spring.

You know what thoughts are uppermost in my mind now? Let them mourn for a change. Let us celebrate. But you won't see Israelis handing out sweets and celebrating. Lair will. I will. A few others will. And we'll be chastised for it from other Jews.

But that won't stop me from being extraordinarily glad that Yassin is dead, and worried that some other Hamas freakazoids will get through with a bomb belt. Take extra care, my Israeli friends. | |

Sweden does the right thing

Swedish Muslims anonymous anti-Israel protesters rioted against a pro-Israel rally. The Swedish police were prepared, and kept them from harming the ralliers.

Several hundred anti-Israel rioters ran amok in Stockholm Sunday night, as they tried to disrupt a pro-Israel rally.

Most of them wearing Arab headdresses, or Kaffiyas, wrapped around their faces, riotersmade their way towards the pro-Israel rally.

Funny, that, wrapping their kaffiyas around their faces. Where have we seen that before? Oh, that's right. Place like Hamas rallies.

Swedish Police were expecting the rioters however, and had deployed accordingly. Mounted police and attack dogs were also on hand to deal with potential trouble.

As the anti-Israel rioters moved towards the pro-Israel camp, police moved in and the two groups clashed, with rioters throwing stones at police, Israel Radio reported.

Rioters vandalized stores and broke windows in the area, including the facade of the local Israeli tourism bureau.

Police managed to break up the riot, and arrested dozens, according to the Radio.

I hope it hurt.

The pro-Israel rally went ahead as planned.

Good to hear. Bravo, Sweden. A bright spot of news in a world full of Jew-hatred. | |

The little things in life

It's the little things in life that make my day. Things like discovering at work that I was lifting (and holding!) a 45-pound child over my head without any arm strain whatsoever. Things like giving a coworker a squirting frog toy and watching her head towards another staffer with a wicked gleam in her eye. Things like having three of my five students pass their most difficult mastery skill yet: Describing ten of eighteen Jewish holidays (the other two were absent).

And best of all, finding the base to my Gazelle Glider, a day after finally deciding to buy a new one, and beginning the process in email. Nope. Tomorrow, I'm going to put the Glider together, fire up the video, make fun of Tony Little as usual, and work on getting the rest of my flab outta here. Sorry, Dave in NYC, but no side trip to the city for me this Passover. | |


Last week's blogs are archived. Looking for the Buffy Blogburst Index? Here's Israel vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary is also a good bet if you've never been here before.