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Chris Muir lost his mother.

Say a prayer for the family. I'm saying Kaddish here for them.

Yitgadal v'yitkadash sh'mei raba b'alma di-v'ra chirutei, v'yamlich malchutei b'chayeichon uvyomeichon uvchayei d'chol beit yisrael, ba'agala uvizman kariv, v'im'ru: "amen."

Y'hei sh'mei raba m'varach l'alam ul'almei almaya.

Yitbarach v'yishtabach, v'yitpa'ar v'yitromam v'yitnaseh, v'yithadar v'yit'aleh v'yit'halal sh'mei d'kud'sha, b'rich hu, l'eila min-kol-birchata v'shirata, tushb'chata v'nechemata da'amiran b'alma, v'im'ru: "amen."

Y'hei shlama raba min-sh'maya v'chayim aleinu v'al-kol-yisrael, v'im'ru: "amen."

Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya'aseh shalom aleinu v'al kol-yisrael, v'imru: "amen."

Yeah, I know they're not Jewish. But I am. | |

Lessons in media bullshit bias

Today, students, let us look at the AP article entitled "Israel Expands Offensive in Gaza Strip."

First, the headline. It is Israel's "offensive," not, say, a response to terrorists firing rockets into Israel that killed two Israeli children?

Next, the byline:


Palestinian stringer. 'Nuff said.

Now, the lead:

JEBALIYA REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip (AP) - More troops poured into the Gaza Strip on Saturday as Israel expanded its offensive to counter Palestinian rocket fire, one of the largest incursions in four years of fighting. Seven Palestinians were killed in new clashes, including four who cut through Gaza's border fence.

About 2,000 soldiers in hundreds of armored vehicles were patrolling a five-mile stretch of northern Gaza where militants have been firing homemade rockets at Israeli communities. Both sides appeared to be bracing for a long fight, with masked Palestinian gunmen fortifying their positions.

At least 44 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed in four days of violence. The Israeli offensive, "Days of Penitence," began after a Hamas rocket killed two Israeli preschoolers in a town near Gaza on Wednesday.

Three paragraphs in, and we still don't know that a two-year-old and a four-year-old were killed by terrorist rocket attacks. The AP is including them in their death toll of "five Israelis" killed in "four days of violence." Nowhere in the article will you discover that all the Israeli deaths were caused by terrorists.

Shulamit (Shula) Batito, a schoolteacher from the Gaza Strip settlement of Nisanit, was killed along with IDF medic and Shimshon Batallion soldier Staff Sgt. Victor Ariel, 20 of Moshav Kadima in a terrorist ambush near Elei Sinai on Thursday morning. Batito was buried on Thursday night in the new cemetery at Ashkelon's Givat Zion neighborhood.

You don't get the names, ages, or genders of the Israeli civilian deaths. But you get the age of most palestinian casualties, always bolstered by the palestinian "witnesses," usually with a "medic" or "hospital official" label. For the uninitiated (are there any left who read this weblog) among you, that makes the reader think that since an authority said it, it must be so. I'll lay odds that most "medics" and "hospital officials" are gun-carrying pals of the injured or dead terrorists.

And of course, there's this little nyah-nyah moment:

Amid the Israeli crackdown, militants still managed to fire another homemade Qassam rocket into Sderot on Friday. The rocket caused no injuries.

That's now in every article relating to the rocket attacks, as well as the word "homemade." As if it makes a difference whether the rocket fired was made in some terrorist's backyard, or by a missile factory. Those toddlers are dead, regardless. | |



On Second Thought

Oh, was there a debate last night? I haven't even seen a newspaper today. Busy, busy, busy day. I stayed up late watching the debate, got up at 5:30 this morning, worked until 2:30, ran home to pay the rent, went to Heidi's to help with Sorena's (sigh) eleventh birthday party, at which there was a girl who, at this late age, can still hit that note that goes through adult ears directly into the brain. I told her twice that she had to stop it, and trust me, the third time, I wanted to do more than tell her. Oooh, I really hope Sorena doesn't wind up being good friends with this kid. And then I rushed to synagogue for the new members dinner and services, and didn't get out of there until ten o'clock. I do believe I've found a new micro-charity for Alan; more on that later. Oh, and after getting out of synagogue, I picked up my paycheck at the gym, stopped at Kroger's for a couple of things, and got home to hear an annoying electric chirp. Tracked it to the carbon monoxide detector, spent five minutes trying to figure out how to open the effing thing (would it be TOO MUCH TROUBLE to put an effing direction arrow on the goddamned box?), and stopped the annoying chirping by replacing the battery, after being strongly tempted to just smash the thing and call maintenance and tell them it broke.

Anyway. So yeah, no posts yesterday. Worked downtown, got home really tired, watched a bit of my soaps until it was time for the debate. I thought W. looked far too nervous and wooden, and needs work on his repetition problem. Needs work on his repetition problem. Needs work on his repetition problem.

Anecdotal evidence. Of course, you take it for what it means, but I'm running into an awful lot of African Americans who are voting for Bush in the upcoming election. On the other hand, I nearly caused Dena R.'s mother to have a heart attack on Erev Yom Kippur when I told her during dinner that I'm probably going to vote for Bush. More on that later, too.

Not even for discount Mallomars. The Sucky Job got sucky again. Actually, it isn't the job. It's the boss. It's his attitude. Bad enough that he's from my father's generation. Bad enough that he's a sexist. He can't communicate to me what he wants me to do, and then he yells at me when I don't understand what he meant and do something else. I'm not an effing mind reader. And Kelly isn't paying me enough to take this crap. Come Monday, I'm telling them to find him someone else to abuse. Today, nearly everyone I met when the boss wasn't around asked me, "So, how are you getting along with X? He can be a real problem." Yeah, I kinda noticed.

Mark Twain was right. Sleeping cats are indicative of comfort levels.

For some reason, I woke up at 4:30 this morning. Before drifting back to sleep, I glanced over to see how many cats were in the bed. Tig was next to me, and Gracie was a foot or two below him at the foot of the bed. I fell asleep, comforted by the sight of my cats sleeping contentedly.

No rest for the weary. You know, I've been working straight through since Tuesday, after working all weekend (including Friday). Monday was my only day off this week. I'm working every day next week until Thursday, which will be my only day off until the following Thursday. And I'm still not making enough to pay the monthly bills.

This totally sucks. I need a real job. Perhaps I should ask Glenn to find me a job the way he manages to find other bloggers work. I have to do something.

If you're wondering where I've been, that's where. Working about five different jobs. | |



Attention George Soros: You can have my vote

George Soros is launching a campaign to defeat George W. Bush in November. He's planning on spending a whole lot of money to get people to vote for John Kerry.

I have a proposal for George. I'll vote for Kerry if Soros sends me a check for $10,000. He's not buying my vote. I'm selling it. There's a difference.

So here's the thing. If I get ten grand (in the bank, the check's gotta clear first), I will absolutely vote for John Kerry. And for another 10k, I can probably get my mother to vote for him, too. She lives in New Jersey, a state that's been creeping inexorably towards a Bush victory.

Come to think of it, I may be able to get a friend of mine (who I know is going to vote for Bush) to vote for Kerry if we're talking ten grand a pop. I'll give him a call and see what he says.

And how would Mr. Soros know I'll vote the way he pays me to vote? I give my word, right here, in front of all my readers and on the Internet. How important is my word to me? Six years, three months, and 26 days ago, I gave up a smoking habit of 27 years because I made a deal with my cousin: I'd quit smoking if he'd go on a diet. I gave him my word. I'd tried to quit a hundred times before that, and never managed until then. My word is very important to me.

So. If anyone knows a way of getting in touch with Soros, please send him my regards, and tell him I'd be happy to vote for Kerry for the tidy sum of $10,000. Hey, that's chump change to a billionaire. C'mon, George, how important is this election to you? Well then. Email me, and we'll talk details.

Better hurry, too. The price is going to go up by a thousand dollars a week until Election Day.

| |

Wednesday news and views

Level the whole effing camp if you have to. More "makeshift," "homemade," "usually not lethal" kassam rockets rained down on Sderot today and killed a two-year-old and a four-year-old. That's fourteen this month. Three of the rockets caused fatalities. Pretty high percentage for something that usually "misses." Obviously, the kassams are getting a deadlier payload. There was an article about their being improved a month or two ago, and we can see the results: More dead children. Of course, the Reuters article turns it right around on Israel and mentions that palestinian teenagers were killed. The AP article doesn't even mention the ages of the Israeli children. But it does mention the ages of the pals. It even tells you how old the "militant" was that the IDF killed that day.

Oh, and Saab Erakat condemned the attack.

Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat condemned the operation.

"At a time when the Israeli government is talking about withdrawal and disengagement from Gaza, it is obvious that what is happening is the preparation for reoccupying Gaza," he said.

The operation that sought to find more kassam rocket shooters, that is. What, you thought he was going to condemn the attack that killed two Israeli children? You're joking, right? Why would he condemn something like this?

Two makeshift Qassam rockets hit a residential block in the town of Sderot close to Israel's fenced border with Gaza, killing a girl aged 2 and a boy aged 4 as they played on the eve of the Jewish festival of Sukkot.

"I saw one little child without his legs. We tried to help the other one but it was too late," said neighbor Haviv Ben Abbo, who rushed to the scene when he heard the boom. "All our town is crying."

Thirteen other residents were injured in the town that has borne the brunt of Qassam attacks, emergency services said.

Yeah. "Makeshift" bombs. Funny, they were good enough to kill two children today, and a woman last week.

Eff you too, Erekat. May you be standing underneath the next kassam rocket.

Colin Powell says the pals are revolting. Really, he did.

DUBAI (Reuters) - Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Wednesday that Palestinians should end a four-year-old revolt because it was spreading terrorism and hindering the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

"It is time to end the uprising. We want a Palestinian state. The (U.S.) president wants the establishment of a Palestinian state for the Palestinian people which exists side by side with Israel," Powell told Arab satellite television Al Jazeera. His comments were translated into Arabic.

"This will only happen when terrorism ends. But the uprising has helped spread terrorism and has not accomplished anything during these years except adding to the deterioration of the Palestinian economic situation and the deterioration of living standards in general among Palestinians," he said.

Violence has spiralled on the heels of the fourth anniversary of the Palestinian revolt, which broke out following the visit of then Israeli opposition leader, now Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, to a sensitive Jerusalem holy site on Sept. 28, 2000.

Reuters is matching the AP bias for bias. Now the Temple Mount is a "sensitive religious site." They both used to identify it as "a site sacred to both Jews and Muslims." But not any more.

What is most amazing about this article, however, is that not once did Powell say it's all Israel's fault. As Charles says, it's a pig-flying moment.

An anti-Semite in the FBI AIPAC case? Very interesting article here. Seems that the man in charge of the FBI AIPAC investigation has been sued for religious discrimination, although not named specifically in the case—by a Jewish subordinate.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (JTA) — David Szady, the senior FBI counterintelligence official currently heading the controversial investigation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is well-known to senior Jewish communal officials, who assert he has targeted Jews in the past.

Now, an investigation reveals that Szady was involved in a well-publicized case involving a Jewish former CIA staff attorney who sued the FBI, the CIA and its top officials for religious discrimination.

Although not named in the suit, Szady headed the elite department that former CIA Director George Tenet admitted in 1999 was involved with “insensitive, unprofessional and highly inappropriate” language regarding the case of the attorney, Adam Ciralsky.

RIF recommendation. Maariv has more:

Mr Szady had previously been named by senior officials of major Jewish organizations as being one of the driving forces behind the counter-intelligence probe that resulted in the firing of Mr. Ciralsky.

Former CIA Director George Tenet has admitted, in a letter he wrote to the ADL, that the CIA counter-intelligence unit headed by Szady operated in an “insensitive, unprofessional and inappropriate manner” regarding the Adam Ciralsky case.

Subsequently Szady transferred to the FBI, where he currently holds a senior position in the Bureau’s CI (Counter-Intelligence) department, which is responsible for the probe involving AIPAC, and is believed to be behind the damaging leaks.

Jewish leaders say this is not the first time David Szady has hit their radar screens. “This guy is bad news”, said one of them, on condition of anonymity. “He has a record of targeting and harassing Jewish employees. This includes using inappropriate and unprofessional language that could be construed as bigoted, casting doubts and aspersions on their loyalty to the US, and laying whatever bureaucratic mines he could in their paths”.

Something smelled about this case from the get-go. But the stench is getting stronger.

My best friend is a Presbyterian. Yes, really. But we don't discuss the Israeli divestment situation, because we generally don't discuss Israel. She and I disagree, ah, vehemently, on the subject. Actually, she did say she thought they were idiots for the divestment thing. Apparently, we're both right about that.

The Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, the stated clerk, or highest elected official, of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), said the church does not plan a "blanket divestment" of its $7 billion in investment funds from companies operating in Israel. Rather, he said, it will target businesses that it believes bear particular responsibility for the suffering of Palestinians and will give them a chance to change their behavior before selling their shares.

Presbyterian officials cited one possible example: Caterpillar Inc., which manufactures bulldozers used by Israel to demolish Palestinian homes that are built without permits or belong to families of suicide bombers.

Perhaps the good Reverend would like to boycott companies that do business with Russia. The preferred weapon of choice of the palestinian terrorist is the Kalashnikov. But oh, gee. That would be punishing someone who wasn't Jewish. Never mind.

I think I'd better stop now. I also think we need to put up a Kittzy Zen post. I can feel the vitriol steaming off my laptop screen right now. I don't do dandelion breaks, but I sure do take cat breaks. | |



That objective media... yeah, right

The media representation of all things Israel is so far beneath pathetic that I can't believe editors don't get ill from the stench of their own biases. A case in point, in an article purportedly about Hamas intending to challenge Arafat in the upcoming (yeah, don't hold your breath) local elections:

The kidnapping, coupled with Hamas' electoral challenge, were apt reflections of the state of affairs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after four years of fighting with Israel. The violence has left Arafat's Palestinian Authority severely weakened, leading to widespread chaos and boosting Hamas' popularity.

"We need an evaluation of these four years," Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said. "Where have we been right and where have we been wrong? What did we achieve and what didn't we achieve?" Qureia also called on Israel to reassess its policies.

The uprising erupted on Sept. 28, 2000, after Ariel Sharon, then Israel's opposition leader, visited a sensitive Jerusalem hilltop revered by both Jews and Muslims. Palestinian riots broke out, and five months later Sharon defeated Ehud Barak in a special election for prime minister.

The fighting has taken a heavy toll on both sides, killing more than 3,000 Palestinians and nearly 1,000 Israelis.

Let's play "Spot the errors" in these four paragraphs, shall we?

First, the lie that the "uprising" started because Sharon visited the Temple Mount. Then, notice how AP refuses even to name the place that he visited, using instead "a sensitive Jerusalem hilltop." Yeah, and the Vatican is just another building.

Next, notice how the phrase "the violence" is used. It's a war, folks, one that the pals started, one that they have all but lost.

Then we have the "fighting" has taken a heavy toll on both sides: Well, if we look at the post below, we find out that the "fighting" on the palestinian side consisted mostly of attacks on unarmed civilians with bombs, guns, and knives.

Since the intifada erupted four years ago, 1,017 Israelis were killed, of them 70% were civilians and 30% members of Israeli security forces, data published by the ISA this (Monday) afternoon after four years of confrontation reveal.

According to the data, Palestinian militants perpetrated 13,730 shooting attacks and 138 suicide bombings. Nearly 5,600 Israelis were injured during the time period, of them 82% civilians and 18% security forces personnel.

Meantime, the "fighting" on the Israeli side has consisted mostly of efforts to root out terrorists.

Of course, there's also the lie that blames Israel for all the problems of the pals. Not surprising, though: This is the region that sues for peace not after a surprise attack on the holiest day of the year, but only after the Israeli army has its forces surrounded and is waiting within mortar range of Damascus and Cairo.

God, I hate the media. All I can say is: Thank heavens for the Internet, where I can read Israeli newspapers and get the real story. | |

Tuesday morning news and views

Fine, don't make any suggestions for headlines for these posts. Make me do all the work. It's not like I'm the only writer around here, you know. Oh, wait. Yes it is.

Y'know, this may be part of the reason why I'll never get as big as Some Other Blogs Who Shall Remain Nameless (but are not written by Glenn Reynolds). Because I can't stop injecting my (sometimes insane) thoughts into even the serious posts. And may I say you will never—never see the bracket-emdash-Editor label here, because I despise it. Everyone knows it's the author speaking. I mean, really. It was fashionable in the eighteenth century, but dudes—hello? Twenty-first century now, y'know?

Ahem. On to the news.

PA stands for palestinian assassins. More evidence that the PA's hands are simply covered with blood: Yet another Al Aqsa terrorist doubled as a "security officer" for the PA.

Further evidence emerged Monday of the direct link between the armed wing of Fatah, Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and the Palestinian Authority.

Obituary notices distributed in the West Bank town of Salfit by Fatah and the PA's General Intelligence Force revealed that the local commander of the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who was killed on Sunday when his M-16 rifle exploded, had doubled as a security officer.

On the other hand, you have to love the Shin Bet. Look how they got this guy:

Residents said Hassan purchased two days ago from an arms dealer an M-16 rifle that had been apparently booby-trapped by Israel's Shin Bet. They said the rifle exploded on Sunday while Hassan was carrying it, amputating his right arm.

Hassan was rushed unconscious to a hospital in Ramallah, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Doctors said he had lost a lot of blood before arriving at the hospital.

That's great. Talk about hoist on your own petard.

Have you stopped beating your wife? Get a load of this State Department transcript, where a reporter tries to get the spokesman to say that Israel's actions are "state terrorism" or, failing that, admit that they're U.S.-permitted.

QUESTION: How do you feel about Hamas operatives operating in Syria? Israel has not claimed responsibility for the dispatch of a top Hamas person. I don't know if you know who finished him off, but I wonder what you think about others doing the kind of things you and Pakistan do.
MR. ERELI: As you say, there is -- there's no claim for responsibility of this act. I would simply note that, you know, in our meetings with the -- recent meetings with the Syrian Government, both the Secretary Powell and Foreign Minister Shara in New York, as well as Assistant Secretary Burns and the Syrian leadership in Damascus, we made it clear to Syria that the United States and President Bush remains committed to a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. That is what we are working toward.
We also made clear that such a peace cannot be achieved against the backdrop of violence and we urge Syria to take steps to halt the activities of individuals and organizations that facilitate and direct violence and terror and that operate from Syrian territory.
QUESTION: The Secretary seemed pleased, on the whole, with his meeting with the foreign minister. Again, we don't know who did the deed, but is the timing unfortunate for you guys or -- you're in the midst of praising Syria. You're getting at least the bobbing of heads about taking actions that you would like seen taken. Does this run against that development?
MR. ERELI: I don't have any comment on the timing of this. It's -- you know, as we've always said, terrorism begets -- terrorism begets a cycle of violence that can be dealt with through ending support of terrorist organizations.
QUESTION: I just want to ask you about one line in there. You said that such a peace cannot take place against a backdrop of violence. Presumably, you would exclude the blowing up of this car with someone in it, or is that violence, too?
MR. ERELI: As I said, terrorists and their supporters beget a cycle of violence that is best addressed through the end of support of terror.
QUESTION: Is it your position that this person was a terrorist or a begetter of violence?
MR. ERELI: My understanding is he's a member of Hamas.
QUESTION: Okay. So his killing and the violent nature of his killing isn't part of the violence against which a Middle East peace cannot take place?
MR. ERELI: I'm not -- I think that, in our view, the best way to address the longstanding violence in the region is through ending support of terror.
QUESTION: Well, wait -- is --
QUESTION: So the crux of what you're saying is that -- I don't want to go where you don't want to go, and it's ticklish, I know, for you because it's always special when it comes to Israel attack -- going after terrorists, but -- if Israel did the deed -- but you would have left it to the Syrians to take care of Hamas in Damascus rather than go after Hamas leaders; is that correct?
MR. ERELI: We have made it clear that in numerous meetings with the Syrians that we think it's in their interests, in the interests of the region, to end support for terrorist organizations and terrorist individuals operating from their territory.
QUESTION: It's been going on a lot of years. So you would still, you know, hold back and wait for them to do that; is that the idea?
MR. ERELI: That is --
QUESTION: That's the --
MR. ERELI: That is what our policy is based on, the need for Syria to take actions against these organizations.
Yes, ma'am. I'm sorry. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Hamas already accuse Israel being behind the attack.
MR. ERELI: Pardon?
QUESTION: Hamas already accuse Israel of being behind the attack. Israelis officially denied that but privately admitted to Israel Channel 2. Whoever did this attack, do you think it is a legitimate way of eliminating people, leadership from Hamas, rather than arresting them and trying them? Does the U.S. agree to this method of killing?
MR. ERELI: You know, our position on targeted killings, I think, is well known. I don't have anything new to add to what we've said to this in the past.
QUESTION: What, you regard this as a targeted killing?
MR. ERELI: She -- the way the question came -- the way the question was presented, I'm not commenting on this specific act. As a general policy --
QUESTION: I understand. But can you -- do you regard this as a targeted killing, or just an unfortunate, or perhaps fortunate, act of violence?
MR. ERELI: I don't think I have enough information to give you an informed answer.
QUESTION: You do agree that it was violence?
MR. ERELI: Yeah, I think a car bomb --
MR. ERELI: -- blowing somebody up is violent.
QUESTION: Is the U.S. asking Israel or Syria to provide any additional information?
MR. ERELI: Not that I'm aware.
Yes, sir.
QUESTION: I wonder why you can't see it in the terms of state terrorism, when a country is conducting what its officials are saying or describing its policy as "long-arm policy of Israel," killing other people in other people's country, or other countries who are conducting, with the United States, very serious kind of discussion that has to do with the arrangements of security and peace in the area. Why can't you go beyond talking about it as a targeted killing and admit that it is actually a state terrorism, because this is a conduct of a country against another neighboring country?
MR. ERELI: I don't know that -- everything you suggest is a supposition. I don't have the facts to be able to conclude that what you said is actually true. So, you know, you're asking me to say something, to comment on something that you purport to be true that we don't know to be true.
I think what we do know is that there are terrorist organizations and terrorist individuals operating out of Syria with the support and connivance of the Government of Syria, and that this is not in the interests of peace, and not in the interests -- and not consistent with those -- not consistent with statements in favor of peace.
So our view is that the best way to resolve this scourge or this problem is to provide no haven and no support for individuals who believe that violence, as opposed to negotiation, is the way to solve the problems -- is the way to achieve peace, or to achieve an end to the conflict between Israelis and Arabs.
QUESTION: Yeah, if I may. Do you see that yourself objecting to any violent acts by -- or solving problems, for countries to solve their problems with other countries is through violent acts and state terrorism, or you just insist that, well, one country should do this and this and that for the other country to meet the demands of Israel?
MR. ERELI: We think that if a country is committed to negotiated -- peaceful settlement of disputes through negotiation, then it is inconsistent to support organizations, terrorist organizations whose purpose is to use violence to settle those disputes.

End of the Oslo War? I didn't fully believe it when I read it the first time. I didn't fully believe it when I read it the second time. But now that the LA Times is reporting (go to Bugmenot if you're not registered) that palestinians are beginning to think their "intifada" is a failure, I'm starting to believe an end is in sight.

The official Palestinian line is that the struggle continues. Veteran leader Yasser Arafat and old-line members of his Fatah faction insist that ordinary Palestinians are unbowed by the overwhelming degree of force that Israel has brought to bear in cities and towns all over the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which have been responsible for more than 100 suicide bombings over the past four years, also insist that they will continue to hit Israeli targets with all their strength.

But relentless Israeli strikes at the militant groups' leaders and field operatives, together with the partial construction of a security barrier meant to seal off the West Bank, are credited with reducing such attacks inside Israel by 80%.

For some time now, influential figures in Palestinian society — intellectuals, lawmakers, analysts, professionals and well-regarded local officials — have been asserting, almost matter-of-factly, that the violent confrontation with Israeli forces has reached a dead end and their people must look to the future.

In the article, the palestinian admits to terrorists committing war crimes:

From the beginning, civilians were caught squarely in the middle by the tactics of Palestinian militants. Abu Fahdi described the use of thickly populated areas as cover when staging attacks.

"It made me uneasy when we would use someone's house to fire at [Jewish targets] and know that the army would shoot back at the families in the area or destroy the home," he said. "But we thought it was something that had to be done in the short term, in order to inflict blows."

There will be, of course, no denunciations from the UN for this.

This article carries a RIF recommendation (read in full). For the LA Times, it's practically objective.

Horrifying statistics. Here's an article that tallies the four years of casualties that Israel has sustained in the Oslo War.

Since the intifada erupted four years ago, 1,017 Israelis were killed, of them 70% were civilians and 30% members of Israeli security forces, data published by the ISA this (Monday) afternoon after four years of confrontation reveal.

According to the data, Palestinian militants perpetrated 13,730 shooting attacks and 138 suicide bombings. Nearly 5,600 Israelis were injured during the time period, of them 82% civilians and 18% security forces personnel.

The bloodiest year was 2002 during which 452 Israelis were killed and 2,309 sustained injuries. A significant drop has occurred since then, culminating in 2004 during which 97 Israelis were killed, another 441 injured.

However, the firings of Kassam rockets have risen steadily in the past year. In 2002, only 25 rockets landed within the Green Line, 15 in Gaza and two on the West Bank. In 2004, 118 landed in Israel and 41 in the Gaza Strip.

But hey, the Kassam rockets almost never kill anyone, so it doesn't matter, right?

Right. | |

A Reuters moment of truth?

Reader Brett W. brings up something that I haven't yet mentioned that's been recurring in Reuters articles like this one.

Some factions have also suggested they could apply a long truce in attacks from Gaza if Israel pulled out completely, maybe even for years.

But in the longer term, groups like Hamas are dedicated not just to independence in the West Bank and Gaza, like Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority. They also want an Islamic state in all of Israel.

I've seen the Hamas boilerplate change. They are also being explained as a group that wants the destruction of the state of Israel. But there are several reasons I haven't really pointed it out. It never comes in the lead of the article, only buried deep inside where most people don't see it. Most people don't read past the first three paragraphs of any news article, and many read only the headlines. The headline for the above article is "Palestinian Rockets Point to Enduring Conflict." And here's the lead:

SDEROT, Israel (Reuters) - First you hear the whistle. Then the boom. Hugging tight her 8-year-old daughter, Maia Oriloh is terrified to leave her home in the Israeli town of Sderot after a rocket fired from Gaza hit yards away. Neighbor Ruthi Levy wakes in panic at the slightest noise.

The missiles spreading fear in Sderot, inaccurate and rarely deadly, point on one hand to the growing difficulty for Palestinian fighters of hitting Israel with more lethal means after four years of an uprising.

But they also send a message that Israel has little hope of total victory and raise a question over the "disengagement" that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon aims for with a plan to quit the occupied Gaza Strip while keeping chunks of the West Bank.

Scare quotes around disengagement. Palestinian "fighters," not terrorists. Not even militants. "Little hope of total victory." The angle of the article is that Israelis are living in fear over attacks from palestinians. Basically, it's the same old biased Reuters face with a different boilerplate for Hamas.

So Brett, I wish I could say that the labeling of Hamas as an organization "working for the destruction of Israel" (another phrase I've seen) is a hopeful sign. But Reuters' overall bias remains, and we recently found out part of the reason for it: They openly admitted they're afraid terrorists will kill their reporters if they don't toe the terrorist line. Hamas obviously doesn't have a problem with Reuters saying that Hamas is trying to destroy Israel. Because if they did, Reuters wouldn't print it. | |



On Second Thought

Conversations with God. Okay, I'm working on that post, but it's not quite coming together yet. I put it in the spike file for viewing at a later date. Perhaps God is annoyed with me for trying to write about our private conversations. Hm. That might explain the fall on the way into Synagogue on Saturday.

The ubiquitous cat hair. So I took Heidi's advice, and took the bandage off my knee before going to bed Saturday night. She maintains that it's far more healthy for a wound to have a hard scab rather than the moist, yucky thing that you get under bandages. Yesterday was my busy day. I teach religious school in the morning and work in the climbing gym in the afternoon, putting in a full eight hours at both jobs (yes, hitting the Amazon Honor System would be nice right now, and guess what? You can hit it anonymously!) Where was I?

Oh. Right. Knee, wound, scab. So today, I woke up and made my way downstairs, and sometime this morning, I looked at my knee and discovered that there is a ton of cat hair in the scab. Sigh. Damn Tig. I'm going to shave him, I swear I am.

Watch it, William. I'm a feminist. You have to read this entry (the rest of William's blog is pretty good, too). William, nuh-uh. The term you're looking for is "radical feminist." I tell that feminist lightbulb joke all the time. I think it's funny. And I thought Arnold's reference to "girlie men" was hilarious, but then, I also, unaccountably, still like elephant jokes. I still laugh at them. I never get tired of hearing them. Go figure.

To punctuate, or not to punctuate? That is the question. So what do you think? I haven't made up my mind yet. Sometimes I want these subheads punctuated, and sometimes I don't. Are they set off enough by the different font, size, and color that you don't think they need punctuation? Or should I just keep on going with the period and ignoring its use on sentence fragments? I know, most of you are probably thinking, "What? What are you talking about?" Well, listen, folks. That decades-long publishing career includes a B.A. in English, years as a copy editor for books and magazines, and then there's that strong perfectionist streak of mine. I'm nowhere near as obsessive as Lileks, thank God, but I have my moments. (Dude—every single can of soda in your fridge faces front and is separated by brand? You need to learn how to chill.) ((Dang—can't find the link.)) So. Speak. Say. Tell me what you think regarding punctuation, but make fun not of English majors and those with great attention to detail. Except for the ones who have all the sodas in their fridge facing front and in brand order.

New TV season. Watch Lost. Watch Lost. Watch Lost. And while you're at it, watch Lost. I don't care that the unknown monster resembles the old Irwin Allen bush monsters crashing through the planets in Lost in Space (do you supposed they meant for us to invoke that image?). The first episode was wonderful, and I'm starting to fall for Matthew Fox again (He's from Party of Five: The show where Neve Campbell will always cry, Scott Wolf will always repeat himself, and Jennifer Love Hewitt will always look like she has an eating disorder.)

It was wonderful. And I'm not sure whether by this Treacher means he was wrong about the station, or wrong about the show. I have it on tape, dude, should I watch it?

And let's let out a great big Yay! The Gilmore Girls season opener hits this backwater city of Richmond tonight, which has no WB station. VCR set to tape at (sigh) 2:30 a.m. I'm sure itching to see Lorelei give Rory what-for for sleeping with a married Dean. I just may set my alarm and watch it in real time.

Naaaaaah. | |

Monday morning news and views

We still haven't got a catchy title for these posts. People, people, people, you have to do your part here. What on earth am I paying you for?

The Dead Zone. Lots of dead terrorists this weekend, and let us say: Yay. First, the Pakistanis got one of Daniel Pearl's murderers. Then the Americans got Zarqawi's right-hand man. (And gee, guess what? He was a Saudi.) But the biggest news is the targeted killing of a Hamas leader in Damascus. Read this with your standard terrorist arrogance warning:

Izzadin Kassam, Hamas's armed wing, vowed to avenge Khalil by attacking Israeli targets overseas, the group said in a statement issued in the Gaza Strip.

"We have allowed hundreds of thousands of Zionists to travel and move in capitals around the world in order not to be the party that shifts the struggle overseas. But the Zionist enemy has done so and should bear the consequences of its actions," said the statement, a copy of which was faxed to the pan-Arab news channel Al-Jazeera, which broadcast the message.

"We announce an escalation in the fight between us and the Zionist enemy," Hamas spokesman Sami Zuhari said on Al-Jazeera.

Oh, you have allowed Jews to move freely throughout the world? Well, eff you too, you murdering bastards. And eff the media for pretending that Hamas has a "military" and a "political" wing. They're all part of one big, murdering, terrorist organization. That's why Ahmed Yassin is rotting in pieces right now.

More arrogance that you won't hear the UN condemn, and warnings that Hamas will take revenge:

However, Hamdan did not rule out the possibility that this policy could be changed in the aftermath of Sunday's assassination. "The Hamas leadership is now studying the repercussions of this crime and this could result in new positions which would be made public," he explained. "But until we conclude our discussions and draw conclusions, all Hamas members must abide by the official policy."

Hamas's political leadership in the Gaza Strip issued a similar call. "Despite this despicable crime, in which the Zionist enemy has transferred its atrocities outside the occupied Palestinian lands, Hamas emphasizes that there is no change in its policy regarding the conflict and facing the Zionist aggression against our people," it said.

"Hamas preserves the complete and legitimate right to respond to this cowardly murder at the appropriate time and location and in a way that will best serve the higher interests of the Palestinian people."

So let me see if I get this straight. Gunning down a woman and four children in their car is a brave act of resistance. Killing a terrorist leader with a car bomb is cowardly. Right. The Bizarro world of terrorists.

Ariel O'Sullivan has an analysis of the strike (recommended RIF, read-in-full):

The assassination of a key Hamas operative in a foreign capital will likely lead to Hamas carrying through with its threat to change its policy and strike at Israeli and Jewish targets around the world.

Until now, the staunchly disciplined Hamas organization, while responsible for scores of suicide bombings and attacks, has limited its strikes to Israel and the territories. Analysts believe that the Hamas arsenal is not empty and that they do have the network and capability of launching deadly terror attacks abroad.

That said, analysts believe this was the risk worth taking at this present geopolitical moment. The tactical benefits of hitting Izz al-Din al-Sheikh Khalil are marginal. But the psychological and strategic benefits are great.

[...] Lt.-Col. (res.) Moshe Marzuk, a former head of the Lebanon and Palestinian desk in IDF Intelligence, believes Hamas will carry through with its threat to start targeting Jewish and Israeli targets abroad.

"They have operational capabilities. They are organized. Their guys who raise money and get weapons are military operatives and they can transport people and really deliver a blow. That is not the problem," said Marzuk, a researcher at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism.

"The problem is that Hamas needs to have a launching pad. It will be very difficult for them to operate in other countries if Israel adopts this policy of accountability."

The message Israel delivered to Damascus on Sunday is that Israel is willing to go up a notch in its war on terror.

The other message being overlooked by nearly all is that Israel apparently had the aid of an Arab country in this strike, which gave them the names and locations of Hamas officials in several nations.

On Friday, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported that an Arab intelligence service had given Israel information on Hamas leaders abroad, including where they lived, what their hobbies were and even what food they ate. It cited unidentified Arab sources in Europe.

That is absolutely crucial information. What country could it be? Jordan? Egypt? Syria itself? (What better way for Syria to take its head off the chopping block than by turning on the terrorists it has been harboring all these years?)

In any case, the Hamas leaders abroad are screwed. We may be seeing a lot more surgical Mossad strikes throughout the world. And let us say: Amen.

Iranian terrorism redux. So we have Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization Hizbollah operating with impunity in Israel and the territories. We have Iran testing long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. We have Syria working to send Iraqi nuclear scientists to Iran (someone shoot down that plane, please).

I'm beginning to change my theory. I don't think Syria is going to be the target after the re-election. I think that W. is going to go after Iran, whether by proxy (arming the students and sending in "students" the way Iran sent in "pilgrims" to aid Al-Sadr) or by ultimatum (watch the UN harumph and do nothing again). Either way, next year is going to be yet another Chinese "interesting times" prophecy come true.

And Sarah and the twins are on their way over, so I am outta here for a while. I haven't seen the kids in weeks and won't again until next week. Oh, Gracie's going to be thrilled. | |


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.