Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

The Biggest Homes In The West Bank Don't Belong To The Jews

Posted: 30 Jun 2010 02:33 PM PDT

In her post, Why This Flaming Liberal Is Pro Israel And What Most Don't Understand) Sharon 
Cobb writes:
But there is another issue I want to underscore. Unless you have driven from Jerusalem to Efrat to Tekoa, please don't whine about the conditions of the Palestinians, because what you will see on the drive I just mentioned, are fabulous homes all along the Palestinian territories, and the few Israeli outposts in the area have very very modest homes built with their own hands and that of their neighbors.
To get an idea of what Cobb is writing about, take a look at Arab Mansions, a post by Shiloh Musings written back in March 2007. She wrote:
It's very annoying and inaccurate that people who aren't familiar with the facts on the ground here in the Shomron, north of Jerusalem, Israel, have such a totally distorted view of things. My neighbors and I live in small, modest homes. Yes, that's the truth. The large, enormous mansions north of Jerusalem all belong to Arabs. For the longest time, I had been thinking of trying to sell a photo-story showing those elegant structures. Then finally during Succot, I mentioned it to a neighbor who said that he'd love to drive around with me, while I took pictures. thanks ms! So we went off one day and were amazed at how many gorgeous mansions were between Shiloh and Jerusalem.
Here are the pictures she took:

At the time, Jawa Report linked to the Shiloh Musings post and noted:
Not that I'm against Arabs living in mansions--I'm all for anybody living in as large a house as they can afford, restricted only by their conscience--but I do think this is a glaring example of both the media and Palestinian agitator hypocrisy. When was the last time you saw any images of Palestinians which weren't of "refugee camps" or of kids being "oppressed by Israel"?
West Bank Mama linked to the post as well, and in the comments Israel Medad writes:
Pointing out the big, opulent Arab houses was always part of my "preliminary" Hasbara tour, bringing journalists and diplomats out to Shiloh during the 80s, but then Oslo came along and we stopped going through Ramallah where it was a lot easier to see these houses, especially at the southern entrance, along, what else, Palestine Street. In fact, during one of our "making-our-presence-felt" tours in 1989, we walked out of Psagot and down into Ramallah right through an entire neighborhood of houses three times bigger than I could ever afford to build (the rest of the walk we were dodging IDF soldiers who were informed of a bunch of crazy Jews walking through the town. We made it to the Mitzpah, a great archeological site, and half-way to Givat Ze'ev before they caught up with us leaving them with no alternative but to simply walk alongside us as there were no roads in that area to drive us out).
And of course, not to be left out, in Gaza--there's the Aldeira Hotel

And the Roots Club:

Then again, maybe the members of the flotilla just want to try out Gaza's Olympic-size swimming pool

Gaza's first Olympic-standard swimming pool was inaugurated at the As-Sadaka club during a ceremony on Tuesday held by the Islamic Society. Gaza government ministers, members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, leaders of Islamic and national governing bodies, as well as club members and athletes were among those at the opening ceremony, where Secretary-General of the Islamic Society Nasim Yaseen thanked the donors who helped realize the project. [emphasis added]
 Good to know that Gaza--The World's Biggest Open Air Prison Camp™--is surviving. 

Australia becomes pro-israel, the rest of the world, not so much

Posted: 30 Jun 2010 04:19 AM PDT

Meryl and others have written about the attack on Australia's new Prime Minister for being insufficiently anti-Israel.

On Monday she was caught in her first political storm as prime minister following a letter written by Ross Burns, who served as Australia's ambassador to Israel between 2001 and 2003.

In a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, Burns said Gillard has been ''remarkably taciturn on the excesses of Israeli actions in the past two years''.

The former diplomat hinted that Gillard's stand stemmed from her relations with Jewish Melbourne property developer Albert Dadon, who employs Gillard's partner Tim Mathieson and has been active in advancing Australia's ties with Israel.

Apparently PM Gillard is really off the reservation, if the UNHRC is any indication (h/t Transterrestial Musings):

The Human Rights Council is concluding its 14th session in Geneva today by maintaining its reputation as an institution with a greater interest in demonizing the Jewish state than in protecting human rights around the world. With the adoption of yet another resolution critical of Israel, the Council has adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than all other 191 UN member states combined.

Given the number of tyrannies and failed states, what on earth could be motivating the UNHRC to single Israel out? I'm glad that the Obama administration had the foresight to join the UNHRC so it could steer its membership to better behavior.

Crossposted on Yourish.

Russian spies, what we worry?

Posted: 30 Jun 2010 04:11 AM PDT

What could have been an embarrassing international incident is being handled deftly by the Obama administration:

The White House said Tuesday that it does not expect the arrests of 11 accused members of a Russian espionage ring to affect relations between Washington and Moscow, shrugging off Russian denunciations of the busts as a throwback to the Cold War.

Running a spy ring on American soil is less of a diplomatic incident that Israel building houses in Jerusalem. Glad I got that straight.

The Wall Street Journal, though, doesn't think the spy ring should be so readily dismissed:

It's tempting to laugh off this episode as Russian keystone spies, but don't forget that paramount leader Vladimir Putin is a former KGB colonel who made the revival of his country's security services a priority. The timing was also embarrassing for President Obama, who only four days earlier hosted his "friend and partner" Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, for a "cheeseburger summit" in Washington as part of the Administration's "reset" in relations with Russia.

In truth, Russia doesn't see this relationship the way Mr. Obama does. The country's foreign and defense policy doctrines, released this year, say the enlargement of NATO, the deployment of American troops near Russia's borders and U.S. missile defenses are dangers to Russian security. Russia still occupies Georgia and threatens other neighbors. Mr. Putin's "managed democracy"--in effect authoritarian rule--also runs counter to the democratic values that America stands for.

We can and should seek good relations with Russia. But while Mr. Obama sits down for cheeseburgers, the people who really run the Kremlin still consider the U.S. a serious rival for power and influence, and stealing America's secrets is standard Putin procedure.

Tommy has no regrets

Posted: 30 Jun 2010 03:43 AM PDT

Despite his false and offensive comaparison between Israel and Syria the other day, the New York Times has not seen fit to publish any letters refuting Thomas Friedman's offensive calumny.

So as a public service here are some responeses:
My Right Word:

Israel, more than the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than Nato in the Balkans as well as Syria in Hama, was very much deterred from causing unnecessary civilian casualties. This aversion was not due to international pressure but our country's rule of law and religious/cultural heritage. Inquiries and trials are the norm including punishment for proven offenders.

This behavior was of no diplomatic benefit as Israel, nevertheless, was pilloried and subject to condemnation such as the Goldstone Report. Why then should Israel, despite its very Jewish ethics, seek to offer any further sacrifices, especially security endangerment and possible existential threats simply to gain favor from columnists and biased diplomats?

Six kids and a fulltime job

Brutality? Undeterred by civilian casualties? Come on Tom, you must be kidding. The Israeli army operated with a precision laser. If you want to see brutality, check Saddam Hussein's brutal killing of his own people or Ahmadinejad's repression of the latest civilian rebellion. I am sure you can find more examples. Israel's Gaza Operation was the most pinpoint war in the history of mankind and, because of that, unfortunately, it is one which did not have a decisive victor.

Israel Matzav:

By comparison, by the highest estimate around 1,400 people were killed in Operation Cast Lead and nearly all of them have been shown by the IDF to have been terrorists.

Friedman is beneath contempt.

American Thinker:

In all the military campaigns cited by Friedman, Israel instead took great risks and went to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, unlike its enemies who were deeply embedded among civilians and used civilians as human shields. If Israel had followed "Hama rules," as Friedman charges, it had the means to obliterate terrorist strongholds like Jenin in the West Bank during the second intifada. Instead, to spare civilians, it opted for house-to-house combat -- a strategy that cost the lives of dozens of Israeli soldiers. .

It's exactly this deep, civilized commitment to minimize civilian casualties that prompted British Army Colonel Richard Kemp to testify before the UN Human Rights Council about the IDF's examplary conduct during the Gaza operation: In his words: "Based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare."

Unlike Friedman, Col. Kemp knew whereof he spoke, having fought in Iraq and Afghanistan in situations where the challenge to his troops also was to take extra precautions not to harm civilians.

In Israel's recent wars, it never deliberately targeted civilians as Assad pere did in his bloody massacre of Hama. Friedman's assertion that Israel has been operating under "Hama rules" doesn't stand up to historical scrutiny. It is a disgusting libel that will only feed the propaganda of Israel's enemies who seek to delegitimize the Jewish state.

Fresno Zionism:

There is absolutely no similarity between Assad's mass murder and Israel's self-defense -- not in the intentions of Assad and Israel, and not in the degree of civilian damage.

Assad deliberately killed as many people as he could in order to send a message that insurrection against his regime would not be tolerated -- and to exact satisfactory revenge for attacks on his loyalists (including an assassination attempt) by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The IDF, especially in Gaza, made an effort to reduce harm to civilians as much as possible, and despite a journalistic and propaganda industry devoted to proving the contrary, succeeded quite well under the circumstances. The operations were all intended to stop terrorist activities, not to get revenge.

Friedman knows the difference. Why did he join Israel's enemies in their demonization project? Maybe he'll write a comment to this post explaining that.

I don't think so. One of Friedman's less admirable traits is his utter lack of intellectual honesty. He did not address his libel in his subsequent column. Rather he has provided more reasons for the United States to pressure Israel.

The expansion of the Al-Quds Index is part of a broader set of changes initiated in the West Bank in the last few years under the leadership of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the former World Bank economist who has unleashed a real Palestinian "revolution." It is a revolution based on building Palestinian capacity and institutions not just resisting Israeli occupation, on the theory that if the Palestinians can build a real economy, a professional security force and an effective, transparent government bureaucracy it will eventually become impossible for Israel to deny the Palestinians a state in the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

"I have to admit, we, the private sector, have changed," said Hulileh. "The mood used to be all the time to complain and say there is nothing we can do. And then the politicians were trying to create this atmosphere of resistance -- resistance meant no development under occupation."

Fayyad and his boss, President Mahmoud Abbas, changed that. Now the mood, said Hulileh, is that improving the Palestinian economy "is what will enable you to resist and be steadfast. Fayyad said to us: 'You, the business community, are not responsible for ending occupation. You are responsible for employing people and getting ready for the state. And that means you have to be part of the global world, to export and import, so when the state will come you will not have a garbage yard. You will be ready.' "

I wouild argue that a government that publishes and broadcasts calumnies denying the existence and legitimacy of Israel is not a great bet to become a peaceful neighbor.

Barry Rubin who knows a whole lot more about the Middle East than I do (or Thomas Friedman does) writes:

Well, I'm looking and I don't see any Palestinian state-building going on. Yes, there is some improvement in the West Bank security forces, including U.S. training, but the changes are not enormous. And at any moment, these forces could launch a war on Israel or start fighting each other. Yes, there is some economic improvement happening but it's based on foreign aid money and much of it is unproductive (i.e., real estate and housing speculation). And again, it could be blown up any moment in a new Palestinian-Israeli or Fatah-Hamas war or just major instability.

That isn't to say that Fayyad/Abbas isn't an improvement over Arafat/Abbas, but it means that there's a very good reason for some skepticism about the changes in the Palestinian Authority.

In September 2000, Hirsch Goodman a left wing reporter for the Jerusalem Report wrote of a trip he took to the casino in Jericho. He concluded that the state building then had reached a point of no return and that the Palestinians had created a viable state to coexist with Israel.

Within a week, Arafat launched the "Aqsa intifada" that included the professional Palestinian police force turning its guns on Israel. The second Israeli casualty was Yossi Tabaja.

Yosef (Yossi) Tabeja was shot at point-blank range by Palestinian policeman Nail Suliman as he rested in his jeep before they were to continue the patrol. An ambulance transported him to Beilinson Hospital, where he died shortly after arrival.
The two jeeps of the joint patrol had stopped for a rest break when Suliman suddenly shouted "Allahu akbar" ("God is great") and fired on the Border Police jeep.

In the end, when Arafat demanded that his police force fight Israel, they did. They're loyalty to peaceful coexistence was superseded by their loyalty to the Palestinian cause. Can Friedman guarantee that won't happen after Abbas and Fayyad have left the scene?

Friedman, undeterred by past errors, concludes his column with:

And for Israelis on the right, particularly West Bank settlers, who love the notion that there are no responsible Palestinians to talk to so the status quo will never change, Fayyadism is a real threat. Akiva Eldar, a columnist for the Israeli daily Haaretz, described this group perfectly the other day when he wrote how they "won't relinquish the Arabs' 'no's. Or, as the poet Constantine Cavafy wrote in 'Waiting for the Barbarians' ... : 'And now, what's going to happen to us without barbarians? / They were, those people, a kind of solution.' "

May I point out that the "Israelis on the right" were correct all along about Arafat being an unreformed terrorist? Friedman was wrong. He is incapable, though, of acknowledging that.

The son also writes

Posted: 30 Jun 2010 03:32 AM PDT

Yesterday, I wrote about the disturbing casf of Mosab Hassan Yousef, who, despite helping to fight terror, is being threatened with deportation. His efforts to hide his cover are being interpreted as providing material support for terrorists. In my post, I noted that the Washington Post had allowed his father, Ahmed Yousef, a senior member of Hamas to write an op-ed but that the paper hadn't reported at all on the fate of the son. That changed today, as the Post published an op-ed co-written by Mosab Hassan Yousef, Why deport a friend to Middle East peace?

Mosab was born a son of Hamas, but he rejected his violent destiny and found the strength to choose a different path. But having left revenge behind, he faces possible deportation as payback for embracing the ideal of loving his enemy.

When an immigration judge in California decides about Mosab's future on Wednesday, the ramifications will be much greater than whether he is sent back to certain death anywhere in the Middle East. It is a decision about the future of liberty and about the best path to peace.

Fiery Spirted Zionist sees the negative influence of the administration in Mosab's travails.

Perhaps the Obama administration wants to deport Mosab Hassan Yousef because it would like to silence his voice regarding the true nature of hamas and islam. After all, the administration seeks to legitimize hamas and reach out to the muslim world. Having someone like Yousef on the talk show circuit advocating banning the koran because it inspires hatred and violence and explaining there can never be peace with the palestinians because their religion forbids acceptance of a Jewish state, is a problem for the Obama agenda.

More at memeorandum.

Council speak 06/30/10

Posted: 30 Jun 2010 03:27 AM PDT

A few days late, but here are the latest Watchers council winners.
Full results here. All entries are here.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Great news! "IRGC to Train Units for Specialized Missions"

Posted: 29 Jun 2010 10:50 PM PDT

The fellow in the picture certainly seems to be prepared for any eventuality--or at least he was before he was attacked by the World Arrogance shrubbery from outer space. "Soft threats" would be ideological ones. The reader is expected to be pleased that the forces for suppressing dissent have new improved jackboots. From Fars News:

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) intends to take a series of measures to get its forces to specialize in different missions as part of its broader plans for reform and quality enhancement.

"The IRGC's objective is gaining further preparedness and increased power and specialize in missions in a bid to confront all threats, including hard, semi-hard and soft threats, so that the IRGC can defend the Islamic Revolution in all fields," IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said, addressing IRGC ground forces in Iran's northeastern holy city of Mashhad.

The commander said that these reforms aimed at the promotion of the quality and further advancement of the goals of the Revolution.

"The entire IRGC divisions, specially the ground forces and Basij (volunteer forces), should always think of upgrading their equipments, training and special facilities and possibilities together with learning specialized tactics and techniques in a bid to become specialized in the mission of their departments," Jafari noted.

The IRGC was created in 1979 after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. Under Iran's constitution the force is tasked with "guarding the Revolution and its achievements".

Such as their wonderful rigged election.

Crossposted on Judeopundit

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