Thursday, October 31, 2002

Diane of Gotham strikes again.
And again. (Don’t be lazy, click the link to the Jpost, Halkin article, as well).
Israel does not exist on Planet Earth according to the World Bank.

Ynet noticed that Israel doesn’t appear on the World Bank map of the Middle East. You’ve got you’re West Bank and Gaza, but THERE”S NOTHING IN BETWEEN!

The World Bank site must have done a swift disappearing map act (judging by the pages of the other regions, the map should be on the right of "select a country"). But they don’t list Israel in their list of countries, either. Israel is not on the page listing all countries nor on the Middle East and North Africa page. The West Bank and Gaza are a country, though. Scroll down, they’re under “W”. You’ll pass “I” on the way. No Israel. The West Bank and Gaza have a nice informative page.

Is the World Bank trying to avoid problems? Maybe we’re on the Europe page? What’s good for soccer and basketball…Nope, not there either. I notice Europe still has it’s map.

Oh, here we are. To find Israel you have to go to the home page and conduct a special search from there. But where is this strange country Israel? Maybe on Mars? On the moon?

By the way, Ynet was alerted to the non-existence of Israel by the Israeli Institute of Oil and Energy, who apparently received their Israel-less copy of the World Bank's report about the Ecology for 2002. I wonder how they got it? Maybe the World Bank sent it to "The piece of land just North East of Gaza and just West of the West Bank".

Update: Jen comments that if “we come around to the Service Entrance, we appear in the list of the 184 member countries.” Well, waddaya know? She’s right! There we are, right between Ireland and Italy. Just like a normal country. I’m so happy. Not only on a real live LIST, but a member, too. I don’t think I can take the excitement. Now who will find us on a map (maybe tucked safely away in “Terms & Conditions” or “Privacy Policy” (“It’s for your own good”))?
This is definitely a wow blog as far as design is concerned, and I'm on the links. WOW! Thank you, markp.

How did you do the Ha Ha Ha thing?

Look at this thing he linked to: Googlism
Look what they've got about me -

imshin is nervous about the next islamikaze bombing
imshin is
imshin is not amused by the israeli left


Look what they've got about Zionism.
To all you nice folk Meryl sent over from the LGF comments: The wisest and deepest thing I have to say about Israeli politics right now is
bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh (this is my food exiting the same place as it came in).

I'm misbehaving this evening. Good thing my daughters' English isn't good enough to read this. Talking about daughters, did I tell you my eldest (11) built a site? She won't let us see it yet, but she says she's had over a thousand hits already (in about a week). I think it's a fan site (in Hebrew) for one of those Argentinian kids soap operas I've told you about. I suppose Hispanic kids in the U.S. watch them as well.
Zeev Schiff about the dangers of Jewish settler olive thieves. I saw one of these guys’ rabbis on TV, last night.

Talk about foaming at the mouth.

Update: That sounds awful, I know, but he really looked out of it (and I should know {insert more hysterical laughter}).
Desert Farms
Cool. I’ve been noticing some vines growing in a little valley on the way to Mitzpe Ramon. It must be one of these farms. It's hard to explain how strange this looks, completely surrounded by desert. The weather is good for vines because the winters are very cold.
Lost in Translation is a fun site that shows what a mess computerized translations can make of things. You can try it yourself.

I tried this line from the first chapter of the book of Exodus:
Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

And it came out as:
To become fullfilled here emerso alongside advanced of finished Egypt new king, the one that Jose did not know.

Then I tried my blog description:
Just your regular split personality Israeli mother trying to make sense of current insanity.

And look what happened:
Rectum that his Israeli of nut/mother of the normal one divided itself of the state, of that the test to crazyness of include/understand the chain.


This is one of the UK Guardian’s contributions of the day.

I’ve been discovering all new parts of the Guardian since I’ve started reading the excellent Palm Pilot version. It’s so aggravating that people who wish I were dead bring out such a good newspaper.
Calling all Sweet-Toothed Dieters.
Do not, I repeat, do not read this, or your diet will die an untimely death.
I've managed to get the time back on my posts, all the better to link to me with ;-)
Labor Party quits government; budget passes first reading. So now it's a narrow right-wing government or elections.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

The case of the Crown versus Zeus.
A British Muslim group is seeking to file a criminal complaint against former Israeli Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz, currently visiting Britain, for the “Jenin Massacre”. It is news to me that you can file a criminal complaint against someone for taking part in a myth. How about pressing charges against Oedipus for patricide? Some of Aesop’s foxes for killing poor little sheep? The Wicked Witch for kidnapping little children with the intent to devour them? The Ugly Sisters for enslavement and spitefulness? These are not real people or historical events, you say? I haven’t seen any evidence to refute their authenticity. I have heard these allegations against them spoken of and written about repeatedly all through my childhood and even in recent years. Therefore, they must be true.

And talking about wicked witches, I know this makes me a mean, petty, spiteful, vengeful person, but this British woman's account, in the Guardian, of how her fear of terrorism is affecting her life, fills me with a warped feeling of malicious satisfaction.

In a crazed, foaming-at-the-mouth, way, it is comforting to know that if Israel does end up as the Czechoslovakia of this World War, those well-meaning nitwits, who would so easily sacrifice us with their enduring belief that Palestinian terrorism is different, that it is justified and that those thieving, murdering Israelis have it coming, will pay. Oh, how they will pay!

Now, excuse me while I crawl back into my hovel. My latest batch of kiddie poison needs another stir, or it won't be ready for the next candy transport to Jenin. Hahahahahahaha (that’s meant to be an hysterical cackle).
Mazal Tov to Cousin J.
Who schlepped all the way from Haifa to Cyprus to see his home soccer team, Maccabi Haifa, play “at home” against the mythical Manchester United, and was not disappointed. 3 – 0.

The BBC was actually gushing in it's praise. How refreshing. Maybe they dislike Manchester United and manager Sir Alex Ferguson even more than they dislike us? It’s nice to be the underdog for a change.

United's defence parted like the Red Sea as Katan surged forward and unleashed a searing strike past Ricardo, who was angered that no-one had challenged the Maccabi striker.

If the United goalkeeper could not believe his eyes for the first goal, there was absolutely nothing he could do to stop Maccabi's second after the break.

Last night's barbarism resulted in the murder of two 14 year-old girls and a woman, gunned down near their homes.

Update: I see the Fatah have taken responsibility. Shall we believe them this time?

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

More barbarism. I'm tired.
Do the writers for the Guardian live in a parallel universe?
Respected scientists on both sides of the Atlantic warned yesterday that the US is developing a new generation of weapons that undermine and possibly violate international treaties on biological and chemical warfare.

This writer for the U.K. Guardian doesn't seem to see the difference between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq having chemical weapons and the U.S. having chemical weapons. They quote scientists who think it's a paradox that the U.S. is developing such weapons at a time when it is proposing military action against Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein is breaking international treaties.

Oh, now I understand what the planned Iraq offensive is all about. Silly me, I though it was about Iraq supporting and promoting terrorism and threatening the lives and the freedom of millions of people.

The Guardian typically quotes the scientists as saying that it is the U.S.'s fault that the Iraqis are developing chemical weapons in the first place. The U.S. and the British apparently encouraged them and showed them the way. They were just following the U.S. and the British lead. They couldn’t help themselves, the poor dears.

I notice they don't say if it was the U.S.'s fault the Iraqis USED chemical weapons on their own population.

Maybe Ribbity's conspiracy theory is not so far fetched after all.

On second thoughts, his theory gives them too much credit. It seems more likely that they are just, how can I say this without being offensive? Not very bright?
OK, OK, so I’m stalling discussing "The Coalition Crisis (Can you blame me?)
So this is the thing: Fouad Ben Eliezer sees he’s dropping in party polls a short while before elections for party head. Time to do something. Creates coalition crisis over social issue on budget. Just before vote on budget he demands: Move what sounds like a lot of money but is in fact a tiny fraction of territory settlement budget to the poor. Impressive. Half his party wants to leave the government, anyway, so they can dream about resurrecting Oslo (and encourage Palestinian terrorism even more than they already are). Therefore they are quite happy with the decision to vote against the budget, even going so far to explain that this will actually strengthen Israel’s economic image abroad (?).

The timely terrorist attack on Sunday gave the Likud the opportunity to call the Labor Party irresponsible, blah blah blah, at a time like this, yadah yadah yadah.

So this is what will probably happen: If the Labor doesn’t really want to leave, the sides will compromise. A nominal amount of an even tinier fraction of the settlement budget will be averted somewhere else. The Labor Party can then portray this as a great victory while the Likud belittles it. If they mean business the Labor party will vote against the budget and leave the government (or vice versa). Sharon says that if they vote against the budget he will sack them from the government and will try for a narrow government. If he can’t manage that he’ll go to elections.

But hey, what do I know? I've got to go do the washing.

Update (11:15 PM): It's looking like the Labor Party means business. Does that mean elections? Hmmm, who shall I vote for?
You can learn about a country’s political behavior from “The Weakest Link” TV show
I haven’t seen the American version, but we get the British and the Israeli versions. The big difference I see is that on the Israeli version (which I admit I haven’t seen a lot of), the contestants seem to be much more candid about their political considerations. They have no qualms about this. The British contestants, on the other hand, “play the game” right to the end. Even after they’ve had their heads chopped off, they seem to dislike talking openly about the unspoken coalitions that develop. Contestants would rather not come right out and say, in so many words, that they voted someone off because he was too good, for instance, or because they were in cahoots with another contestant. They’ll say it in a roundabout way, if at all. The Israelis often unabashedly come right out and say it as it is. The Israelis would call the British behavior hypocrisy, whereas the British would probably see the Israelis as coarse and unsophisticated.

Party politics is always nasty. Politicians everywhere are always conniving, devious foxes. The difference in Israel is that all the nastiness is out in the open. It may nauseate us, but at least we know where we are, and can clearly see the politicians for what they are.
The Frog at his finest
I just love his conspiracy theory.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Alisa says that Shaul Mofaz, recently retired Israeli Chief of Staff, could be defense minister soon, if Ben Eliezer leaves the government. This was on TV channel 1 news. I like Mofaz but I think this is too soon. I would feel much more secure with an experienced veteran in the job, at a time like this. Maybe Moshe Arens?
This I love: "The fall of Hamashbir will affect every household in Israel."
Hamashbir Latzarkhan is a very old Israeli chain of department stores, which is facing collapse. They have the gall to ask for government assistance with their sizeable debt! The amount of times I stormed out of their shops after flinging my carefully selected purchases in the direction of rude shop cashiers! This chain was unrivalled in its abominable customer service (and in Israel this is not an easy accomplishment)! The result was my refusing to even step into one of their stores for at least ten years, probably more. I rediscovered them last winter. A last minute effort to win back the shoppers? Obviously too late.

Damn right the fall of Hamashbir will affect Israeli households! This household, for instance, will be affected with my malicious delight.
Israeli breakthrough in schizophrenia research
What with academic divestment, we’ll probably just have to keep it to ourselves. What a shame.
The real Yitzhak Rabin. Via Haggai's Place.
Laurence Foley, a US diplomat in Jordan, was gunned down outside of his home in an exclusive Amman neighborhood this morning.
The German Embassy in Israel showed great sensitivity in planning a memorial ceremony in Nazereth for fallen German soldiers in the world wars, including fallen Waffen SS soldiers. The Simon Wiesenthal Center wasn’t amused and demanded the ceremony be cancelled. The Germans have delayed the ceremony (until we forget about the Holocaust maybe?).
More and more Kassam "missiles" (they are actually rockets) are flying about in and from Gaza, every day. If this keeps up it will be difficult for the government to stay out. So far, they have mainly done damage to property, in the Gaza Strip and in villages and towns, inside pre-1967 Israel. The latest fell today in the town of Sderot in a construction site of a new school. One of the construction workers was treated for shock.
All eyes on Hebron this weekend.
This Shabbat, the weekly Torah portion is "Chayei Sara" (Life of Sara) which tells the story of Abraham's purchase of the cave of Makhpela, as a burial place for his family. Thousands of Jews spend this weekend in Hebron, every year. There have been advertisements on the radio all week, inviting everyone to come.

This could be a very violent weekend. I'll be sure to keep you updated.
Peace Stuff
A lot of my Buddhist friends will probably be going on this silent peace walk. They are going to walk for six days in Wadi Ara. This is not a very safe place. Many terrorist attacks come from nearby Jenin. I hope nothing happens to them. I don't think they'll be walking with armed guards. They tend to be pacifists. But then again, they walked from Yaffo (Jaffa) to Jerusalem in Pesach (Passover) during the climax of daily terrorist attacks and nothing happened to them. Maybe they're being protected from above.

I never took part in this sort of public activity, even when I was more involved with my Buddhist group.

Trying to promote peace aside, walking meditation is very nice. I recommend trying it. Very soothing (once you get over the first minutes of feeling self-conscious).

Update: I just reread an e-mail I got about the planned Wadi Ara walk. I was right: no guns or security guards.
Williams or Muhammad?
Mark Steyn doesn’t think the sniper story is about an "African-American male from a deprived background driven psycho by military culture."

You get the picture: sure, Muslim fundamentalists can be pretty extreme, but what about all our Christian fundamentalists? Unfortunately, for the old moral equivalence to hold up, the Christians really need to get off their fundamentalist butts and start killing more people.

At the moment, the brilliantly versatile Muslim fundamentalists are gunning down Maryland schoolkids and bus drivers, hijacking Moscow theatres, self-detonating in Israeli pizza parlours, blowing up French oil tankers in Yemen, and slaughtering nightclubbers in Bali, while Christian fundamentalists are, er, sounding extremely strident in their calls for the return of prayer in school.

I've read Chechens are Sufis. I don't think they count, do they?

Oh, and Israel is about the OCCUPATION, stupid.
Enough with the movie
What about #5 BOOK, already??? At this rate, my girls will be mothers themselves before it comes out, and I’ll be in a home for the aged.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

A coalition crisis?
Time to switch to the classical music radio station for a day or two. This is even more nauseating than broken chicken legs.
Hey, Blogger
What happened to the time on my posts?
Bish just came home from the supermarket with roast chicken legs for the girls’ lunch tomorrow. It was fresh out of the oven. What a smell! I was thinking maybe this vegetarian business isn’t worth it. Maybe just a little taste? Then I noticed that the ends of the chicken legs were all broken and distorted.
Why is this dead Chechen female terrorist blindfolded?

I've been wondering about this since I saw it on TV last night.
I took my younger daughter and her friend to their dancing class today. When I came out I saw there were two border policemen (Magav) patrolling outside. I asked them what they were doing there, if there was anything specific. They said there wasn't but I didn’t really believe them. It's a rather out of the way place and I've never seen security there before, besides the ordinary security guard (who was looking more alert than usual). I had noticed a couple of police cars in the area, as well.

When I picked my daughter and her friend up, my daughter started to drive me mad about wanting to get something to eat at the exorbitantly priced cafeteria. All I wanted was to get out of there, as quick as possible.
Gas Station at the entrance to the town of Ariel: 3 murdered, about 18 wounded.
A Fatah suicide bomber blew himself up by the snackbar at the gas station in the entrance to Ariel, Jewish West Bank town. It was full of soldiers, they noticed him and while they were trying to overcome him (it’s not clear if one of the soldiers shot him or a security guard) he blew up. 3 murdered, 18 wounded. There is a hotel just nearby, and a commercial area. They say it's a busy waiting place for buses and transportation, for civilians and soldiers. I've never been there myself.

Yes, you remember correctly, the Fatah did say they’d stop suicide attacks, but only inside pre-1967 Israel. Old ladies and three year-olds that dare venture into the territories are fair game.

Reuters knows who’s to blame: “Four Die as Israelis Try to Thwart Suicide Bomber”.

They really do deserve a prize for masterful misinformation.

This morning I was happy to find a much sought after space to park my car near work. I noticed the car next to me had two open doors. Getting out of my car, I saw a young man sitting on the road next to the car with the open doors, dressed in shiny new army fatigues. He was busy polishing a pair of army boots! He looked like a reserve soldier on his way to begin his reserve duty. They said on the radio that reserve soldiers were among the wounded. The chances my boot polisher was one of the wounded are slim, but if he wasn’t wounded, someone else, just like him, was.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

Alisa wrote about Friday afternoon in Israel. The best bit is the afternoon shloff (sleep). Fridays aren’t the same if we have to stay awake for some reason. If some inconsiderate parents throw a kiddies birthday party commencing at 4 o’clock in the afternoon (or even before, grrrr), you’re going to get some very grumpy parents bringing their kids to the party!

I find there is much more “real news” on the radio on Shabbat than there used to be. They used to keep the news light and put in “positive” items. There’s just so much more happening, nowadays, and it’s stuff that can’t wait for the end of Shabbat.
Is Ben Eliezer going to leave the government?
Israel channel 2 news says Defense Minister and current head of Labor Party, Ben Eliezer, is going to leave the government, this week. They said he's dropping in Labor Party polls and wants to use the vote on the budget as an excuse to leave the government while being seen to be taking a stand on social matters (blah blah blah) to boost his popularity among party members. They say it’s serious this time.
Fergal Keane, of the UK’s very left-wing Independent, says that the real news right now is what’s going on in the UN:

Here is the scenario put to me by a diplomat friend well informed in the ways of the United Nations. There will be a vote sometime in the next fortnight involving all 15 members of the Security Council. Before that Bush will open a direct line to Putin and persuade him not to use the Russian veto. Abstain if he must, but no veto. The carrot will be billions of dollars in assistance to make up for what Russia stands to lose if Saddam is overthrown. The Americans also believe the Chinese won't use their veto. Ever the pragmatists, the Chinese take a long view in which relations with America on issues like trade and Taiwan are far more important than Saddam.

The French are now also regarded as less of a problem. President Chirac has already extracted maximum image benefit from the six weeks of negotiations at the UN, and in any case his position has always been contingent on being able to stand alongside bigger and mightier Russia. If the Russians were out of the picture, Mr Chirac would be most unlikely to stand alone. Again abstention would offer an honourable alternative.

I’m deeply sorry about the hostages that were killed, but I salute the Russians. They did the right thing.
Fed up.
I admire Gil for having the energy to be writing about solutions. I don't feel I even have the energy to read other people’s suggestions, let alone suggest any of my own. I'm so tired of it all.

Update: This said, Gil's readers' suggestions are very interesting.
Imshin’s gossip column. (Now I’m well on the way to getting my own TV game show).
I must be getting desperate if I’m getting my stories from Tzipora, mythical gossip of Tel Aviv local weekly rag “Ha’ir”. I just couldn’t pass up this item about Israel’s self-anointed royal family. Tzipora says that the IDF radio station, Galei Tzahal, organized a show called “Singing with Rabin”. The Rabin family demanded quite a few first row seats for family members and friends and then no one showed up except the late Yitzhak Rabin’s sister. Well, noblesse oblige. Son Yuval Rabin couldn’t have come anyway, he was busy buying a house in Washington D.C. with his wife, Tali (Bish asks what’s wrong with Mitzpe Ramon?). Daughter Dalia quite rightly refused to comment. None of our damn business.
Out and about
Today we went on a trip organized by the parents of my eldest daughter’s class. You never saw such a badly organized event. We spent half of the day lost, driving around, looking for where we were supposed to be going.

In the morning we got lost on the way to the breakfast stop. I was starving and getting very grumpy. The place we were meant to have turned off, according to the guide’s explanation, did not exist, and we’d typically left our roadmap at home. (the guide was one of the mothers).

After breakfast, we went to see some caves, which used to be inhabited by prehistoric people. We found that alright, because we’ve been there before.

Then we got lost again on the way to the lunch stop. This time we were lost with about five other cars full of hungry families. Getting lost together is so much more fun. We found the group eventually. Thank goodness for cell phones. How did we ever manage without them?

By the way, everywhere we went was packed with picnicking and day tripping Israeli families. And the traffic was very heavy on the way home. So much for the terrified-Israelis-huddling-at-home theory. So there, terrorists, you lose again!

As Farid says “people who live through violence become increasingly numb to it in degrees. its a survival mechanism that otherwise would prevent people from showing up for life. but that's all we can do, isn't it? just continue showing up for life. as they do in israel, in bali, in russia, in maryland and washington, d.c.”
(I’m not sure how to link directly to this post of his. It ‘s from 10/26. The one before it – 10/25 is worth reading, too. Very moving).

Friday, October 25, 2002

Shabbat Shalom!
Ehud Yaari in the Jerusalem Report:

The Israeli-Palestinian arena is now dominated by Iraq. All calculations are subordinated to the expectation of war. The timetable of our ongoing conflict is based on the assumption that sometime between the end of Ramadan (the first week of December) and the return to work after the Christmas holidays (the first week of January), the Americans will strike their blow.

With regard to the heating up between Palestinian factions in Gaza we witnessed following the October 7 murder of the commander of the Gaza anti-riot police he says the murder

could have provided the PA with an excuse for such a crackdown. That would have allowed the PA to demonstrate that there is a real partner for dialogue on the Palestinian side, and to go into the war on Iraq with the Gaza Strip producing significantly less volume of terrorism and rocket attacks than at present.

But they did little and he says the Fatah recognizes that

if the PA does not rein in Hamas, Israel, at the end of the day, will have no choice but to carry out a thorough clean-up in the Gaza Strip, similar to the one under way in the West Bank. It is just as clear that the moment the Palestinian lathes manage to produce rockets with ranges long enough to threaten, say, Ashkelon, the IDF will in any case have no choice.
A tabloid for snobby English intellectuals (if they wouldn’t put me on their blog list before, I’ve really had it now).
The Guardian has sent a correspondent to Los Angeles. He has checked things out and has come up with his verdict. This will probably bowl you over with surprise. Apparently ”In the US, not everyone is an overweight gun fanatic - and not everyone wants a war with Iraq”.
…since September 11, America has ceased to be a "status quo" power in the Middle East and has become, or anyway is becoming, a revolutionary one.
David Frum, former speech writer for President Bush, writes in the UK Telegraph about American involvement in the Middle East.
How do you think the Israeli – Palestinian conflict should/could be solved? Take a stand on the comments on Gil’s blog.
He is thinking of removing his comments but before he does he is offering an open stage to anyone who wants to propose his opinion on how to solve the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. Please go and give your input. He has since said he won’t be removing comments just yet, so your comment won’t disappear.

Have you been following the developments on Gil’s blog? Reacting to a particularly offensive comment he wrote a post which he begins: “One thing I really can’t stand is when Israel sympathizers (Jews or Gentiles) who do not live in Israel call for radical acts/solutions. Every supporter of Israel is important that’s for sure, and each can hold his own thoughts left or right”. This led to a lively debate on his comments.
The theatre is probably as symbolic in Russia as the WTC is in the US.
The Russians will not let the Chechens get away with this terrorism. Unlike many Western European countries, and even the US, before 9/11, they understand terrorism for what it is, and wouldn’t dream of surrendering to it. I disagree with Joseph Norland’s assertion that their being victims of terrorism is ironic in face of their policy with regard to Israel and Iraq. Russia’s loyalties lie with Russia. Period. Their stand on Iraq is not a matter of namby pamby peace stuff, appeasement and public opinion. It’s about negotiation and diplomacy.
Distorting things
In the aftermath of Yitzhak Rabin’s murder, some right wing friends of mine were offended by the way the media, politicians and a lot of people in the street were generalizing about right-wing people’s blame. “He was our Prime Minister, too.” They said. “We may not have voted for him and we may not have liked what he was doing, but we are also shocked and horrified. We are also in mourning.”

In the years to come, Rabin’s family has seen fit to claim the way he is commemorated for their own. I suppose this can be seen as justifiable. Their loss is personal. But Rabin was the Prime Minister of all Israelis and his murder affected all of us.

Both Rabin’s children have used his reputation to build political careers for themselves. His late widow, Leah, managed to get on everyone’s nerves regularly. When Netanyahu was Prime Minister she banned him from taking part in the annual memorial rally (I know you shouldn’t say bad things about the dead, but she was a royal pain, what can I do?). Rabin’s daughter, Dalia Rabin-Philosoph, made an embarrassing speech at his grave during this year’s memorial service. She strongly attacked government policy, although she belongs to the coalition member, Labor Party. This was in the presence of Prime Minister Sharon, Defense Minister Ben Eliezer (until recently she was his deputy, but is now openly supporting his inner party opponent Haim Ramon) and other government members.

Now I read on Ariga’s mailing list that ”The annual Tel Aviv City Hall Plaza (Kikar Rabin) rally to commemorate Rabin and to stand up for a peace process will be held this year on the evening of November 2.”

Arafat likes to talk about Rabin as his friend. I doubt Rabin ever saw Arafat as his friend. The man is dead, and who knows? But he wasn’t known as “Mr. Security” for nothing. In his autobiography, written after he resigned from his first Premiership, in 1977, he has nothing nice to say about Arafat, quite the reverse.

No one knows how things would have turned out had he not been murdered, but I tend to think it could very well have come round to the same place in the end, regardless. Rabin was committed to the Oslo Accords, which he had signed, but I believe he would have changed his tune, if he had been alive when they were breached so violently by the other side.

I doubt very much if Rabin would be going to any peace rallies, singing “The Song For Peace” off tune, if he were alive today.

Yitzhak Rabin’s memory and legacy continues to be usurped from the Israeli public by his family and, with their blessing, by the Israeli far left. Thus the lessons of the murder are not being learnt.

Bish and my youngest daughter, who was four at the time, where at the moving peace rally on the 4th November 1995, following which he was murdered. They came home with shining eyes, just before the murder. We were among those wandering in shock around the square in the aftermath. It seems absurd to me that, seven years on, I should not be able to feel comfortable go to a rally in his memory, because I know views I oppose will be upheld there?

Update: Another thing I don't get is all this personality worship. Rabin himself would probably have hated it.
Fred Lapides quotes Oriana Fallaci on Israpundit. Remind me to order her book, the pile of unread books by my bed isn't tall enough, yet.
At last lazy bones has moved! (new comments)
I've been frustrated with enetation comments for a while, so I've moved at last to Haloscan. Sadly, some lovely comments have gone, but now you won't have to wait for hours to read them. Time for a fresh start.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

I’m very relieved that he’s been caught.
How does this sound?
Just like treatments for head-lice that soon become ineffective, because the lice grow immune, we Israelis have become so accustomed to terrorist attacks we have become immune to fearing them on a daily basis. The more attacks there are, the less effective they become in terrorizing us.

Terrorist attacks have become just another of those things that can kill you in less than pleasant ways, like traffic accidents, cancer, Alzheimer’s, (missiles from Iraq…) to name but a few. The danger is very real, but normal, well-adjusted people don’t spend their lives fearing them.

No? Well, just a suggestion.
A Jew, a Conservative and a crook - definitely not a gentleman or Why do journalists never have anything nice to say about anything?
David McKie of the Guardian tells the intriguing story of a shady British character of the 19th century. He makes a point of mentioning the shady character’s Jewish background (the son of a Jewish peddler from Dublin) and his “real” (Jewish sounding) name. I am surprised that this gossipy detail is seen to be relevant, in such a sanctimonious, PC publication.

I know a lot of people who have changed their names for various reasons. Bish’s last name, which I adopted when I married him, is the name of his choice, and not the name he was born with. I see nothing wrong with that. I wouldn’t say this is not our “real” name.

I also know quite a few British Jews whose parents or grandparents felt it necessary to shed the burden of a “Jewish sounding” name. This seems to be much less prevalent among American Jews.

Mr. Mckie’s commentary has to do with some busts of famous Brits, that the aforementioned crook had erected in Leicester Square, which, it seems, he had bought and renovated, and that have recently been ruined by the misapplication of chemicals. Mr. Mckie seems to think that if the original donor of the busts wasn’t a very nice person, it is some sort of poetic justice that they have been damaged. The fact that the guy died destitute and discredited was not punishment enough, apparently, even over a hundred years later.

Something on the line of “fruit of the poisoned tree”?

Remind me to throw out my copy of “Crime and Punishment”. Never mind that it is one of the books that left the greatest impression on me. Dostoyevsky was an anti-Semite, after all. That’ll show him.
John Casey of the Guardian doesn’t think those primitive Iraqis can handle democracy. They’ll have to make do with another tyrant. It’s just the way they are.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Haggai saw Elliot Chodoff speaking about the "Sociology of Terrorism", and has summarised it here.
I wonder.
Terrorism strikes again. Is the world as forgiving, understanding and accepting of the Chechens' terrorism as it is of the Palestinians' terrorism? After all, the Russians have been much less willing to accommodate the Chechens over the years than Israel has been with regard to the Palestinians. Israel's "atrocities" are nothing near those said to have been perpetrated by Russia in Chechnya. I think that if the Chechens expect to gain the worldwide public support our pals over here have, as a result of horrific terrorist attacks, they're going to be sadly disappointed.

Cynicism aside, this is horrible. If the many Russian born Israelis are anything to go by, Russians are very culturally minded people. They love the theatre. Those Chechens really knew where to strike to make it hurt worst.

Update: Another thought that comes to mind: There has been a lot of Chechen terrorism in Russia and no one even noticed. They had to do something really really momentous for the world to sit up and take note.
Interesting stuff happening in Iraq following this amnesty thing.
Answer to Cyrus
My indignation at the behavior of the settlers in Gilad Farm has nothing to do with the Oslo Accords, and my views about them. Wherever you think the border should be, in Israel the law is such that private citizens cannot decide for themselves where inhabited areas should be newly built. Agricultural and open areas cannot be built on, even if they are privately owned, without the necessary state authorization. This holds inside the Green Line, as well.

We are fortunate enough to be living in a democracy. The laws of the jungle are not the accepted laws of the land in Israel. There is an elected government; there is an elected legislative body; there is a judicial system; there is a police force; there is an army. Private citizens who attack policemen, policewomen and soldiers are breaking the law. Therefore they are subject to arrest, trial and, if convicted and if deemed necessary by the court, prison sentences. I see no reason why Israeli law should not apply to Israelis living in Judaea, Samaria and Gaza, unless they prefer to be citizens of the Palestinian Authority, in which case they would be subject to Palestinian law (which they are welcome to). There are plenty of legal ways to express opposition to government policy, as I have pointed out in the past, with regard to left-wing protest activities, if I am not mistaken.

Protesting against government policy is one thing. Breaking the law by, not only building without authorization in a dangerous area necessitating state protection, but actually violently attacking those very representatives of the state who protect you, is another. At a time of war, and in the very center of the war zone, no less, such behavior could be construed as treason.

I won’t even mention violently harassing villagers busy with the olive harvest, which in my mind is wicked.

All of the right-wing friends I have discussed this with agree with me on this issue, by the way.

(Gil seems to have been served a dose of venom, too. I sympathize).
A high-ranking Israeli army officer and others have been arrested for spying for the Hizbullah.

I am opposed to the death penalty as a rule, but right now I am so angry about this, I'm feeling people like this should not be allowed to live.
In a viciously sarcastic book review (of “Le Conflict Israelo-Palestinien:
Les Medias Francais sont-ils objectifs?”
Observatoire du Monde Juif, 173pp
in this week’s Haaretz book supplement, Daniel Ben Simon (Hebrew link) ridicules French Jews strong support and love of Israel. He thoughtlessly (I hope it’s just thoughtless and not malicious) generalizes in portraying them as disloyal to France.

His incredulousness at the French Jews' love of Israel raises questions about his own feelings towards his home. I could suggest that if he dislikes Israel so much, maybe he should go and live somewhere else.

The review hasn’t been translated yet. Usually they translate parts of the book supplement towards Friday, so I’ll post the translation when available.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Yesterday there was a cleanup project in Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater). When standing on the balcony on the cliff, looking down into the crater, the girls and I always looked down to see a distant bathtub someone had thrown over, and a mattress. I wonder if they'll be gone next time we're down there. Bish doesn't look down. He's not very happy about heights, and has only recently began venturing onto the balcony, which is suspended over the cliff.
Jack Kemp has visited Israel and he’s hopeful. Bish is optimistic as well. I wish I was.
A brave group of Palestinian women are putting on a feminist play in Gaza.
Zeev Schiff, Haaretz:
If the aim is to destroy this mediation attempt as well, then Palestinian extremists have no doubt planned other suicide bombings inside Israel in the near future. They are not primarily motivated by a desire to retaliate against this or that Israeli act; rather, they are a deliberate and recurring strategy on the part of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups. Their objective is not merely to kill the maximum number of Israeli citizens, but also to wipe out any mediation attempts that would lead to a renewed dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
Man would fain be great and sees that he is little; would fain be happy and sees that he is miserable; would fain be perfect and sees that he is full of imperfections; would fain be the object of the love and esteem of men, and sees that his faults merit only their aversion and contempt. The embarrassment wherein he finds himself produces in him the most unjust and criminal passions imaginable, for he conceives a mortal hatred against the truth which blames him and convinces him of his faults.
--- Pascal, Pensees

As quoted in “The True Believer”, by Eric Hoffer.
Little Noam Chen, 28 months old.

She was traveling home in the car with her father and her older brother (4) and sister (10). At first her father thought all the children were OK and got out of the car to help the people on the bus. But when Noam didn’t stop crying he picked her up out of her baby chair and her older sister said “Daddy, she’s got a hole in her back.”

She’s been operated on. Her situation is critical but stable. Her father hopes she will be OK.

Her brother was wounded in his legs.
14 die as Israel faces new bomb threat
What does the UK Guardian’s headline mean? They’ll write any jibberish as long as they don’t have to write what happened: 14 innocent people were murdered by Palestinian terrorists.

The BBC also has a strange way of reporting the event: Annan 'appalled' by Israel bus bomb. Like anyone could care less what he thinks.

Monday, October 21, 2002

When my eldest daughter was a teeny weeny thing in the WIZO day care center, she had a little boyfriend. He used to sing her the love song from Don Bluth’s “Thumbelina” (Barry Manilow, what can I say?); they both dressed up as Power Rangers in Purim (she was the red one and he was the blue one). They were inseparable, quite oblivious to the rest of the world. They were the cutest couple you ever saw. The romance ended abruptly when they reached the ripe old age of nearly four and his family moved to Karkur.

She doesn’t remember him.

Anyway, I hope he and his family were nowhere near the blast.
14 dead (Israel channel1).
Gil has said some things about the settlers which I agree with. I can't link to his post. Go read - 10/21 00:00.
11 dead. (Israel TV).

This number doesn't include the two perpetrators.
At least 10 dead. Over 50 wounded. 100 kilograms of explosives.
The way it is.
I was in the post office. A guy dressed like a lawyer (white shirt, black pants), was busy talking on his cell phone. I could make out parts of his conversation. You could understand he was talking about a “pigua”. He finished his conversation and loudly updated the postal worker. We could all hear. Then he started calling other people and updating them.

No one else said a word. No one else made any phone calls. I finished my business there and went to pick up my youngest from her chess class. While there I spoke to another mother and the organizer. No one mentioned the attack. When we got home I put on the TV. Then the piano teacher arrived and I turned it off. The piano teacher had already heard.

My mother-in-law called to cancel her weekly visit this afternoon. She was afraid of getting stuck in traffic because of the attack.

A terrorist attack has become as mundane an event as a minor traffic accident. No big surprise, there had been lots of warnings. It was even in the area anticipated. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing more to say.


Update: Gil offers an explanation for this.
Karkur Junction, near Hadera: At least 8 dead; 39 injured. A car blew up next to a bus.

Ehud Yaari on Channel 2 news: Watching Al-Jazeera he saw a change of tone – The interviewers interview Hamas leaders immediately after such an attack. The Hamas leaders’ are usually festive as a result of their success. This time the interviewers asked what this attack is good for, what they think to achieve. Yaari said the Hamas leaders seemed to be on the defensive.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

If you are a Jew who appreciates Christian support for Israel, you might like to sign the Jews Thanking Christians For Supporting Israel Petition.
Remember this, R.T.?
Especially for Wolf Men everywhere, here’s a monstrous addition to the “Yellow Belly Custard” collection.
Some Jewish West Bank Settlers have been gradually becoming wilder and wilder. They returned to an already evacuated outpost. They are giving the police and the soldiers a hard time. Some spent their Shabbat shooting at unarmed people. I think they are dead wrong to think they have popular support. You’d think the police and the soldiers have nothing better to do. Shame on them.
We’re back.
Well actually we were back last night but blogger was not letting me post.

Mitzpe Ramon was peaceful, as usual. The weather is much cooler, now. The days are pleasant, the evenings cool. Sweater cool.

Yesterday morning we visited a place inside Makhtesh Ramon called Ein Saharonim. This is a spring, which is a main source of fresh water for the local wild life. There was a Nabatean way station there about nineteen hundred to seventeen hundred years ago. It was on the Spice Route and the camel caravans used to rest there. The ancient Khan has been excavated. Very interesting. The spring was dry, but it should fill up in coming months and it will be interesting to see the difference.

We didn’t see any wild life this time, besides lots of migrating birds and a lizard.

The traffic was very heavy on the way home. We crawled alongside two OXFAM and EU humanitarian aid vehicles for a while. They must have been on their way back from Hebron. Bish pointed out that the vehicle drivers hardly looked like humanitarian workers. They didn’t. They looked more like big tough soldiers. I suggested that these organizations probably don’t send the little old ladies that collect the donations to actually give out the aid.

In Mitzpe Ramon people’s stories seem more interesting. Maybe because they’re different from the stories I usually hear. This couple we met had been conned when they reached the town, and bought an apartment for twice its worth. Seven years on, he’s unemployed and they want to leave but they can’t sell or rent out their home, even at a considerable loss. He’s got a good trade but he’s no spring chicken and won’t find it easy even if they do manage to leave. It looks like he finds solace in drink and in the Torah. And he dreams of living by the sea, although he obviously loves the desert.

I was reminded of my great-grandfather, a Russian immigrant, who left a wife and five children he couldn’t feed, in the North of England, and went to try to find a better life for them in the Goldene Medine - America. He didn’t find it there, but at least he tried.

Our new acquaintances are not hungry, they manage to make a very basic living, without frills, on her salary, but they feel trapped. They are not able to cut their losses and change their fate. He says there is work at his old workplace, but he’s tired of breaking his back for a pittance. I got the feeling he’d left as a result of a row. He seemed understanding of his former employers for not being able to pay higher wages.

They are nice, warm people. He has used his energy, creativity and skill to make a lovely garden, using materials he’s come across, and he is full of plans of how to improve it. He is spirited and engaging, what they call here: full of pepper. She is quiet, assured and sensible.

They said they’d been to Tel Aviv recently, with their children, for an “event” (probably a wedding) at one of the good hotels on the beachfront. They had been so intimidated by the heavy traffic that they hadn’t dared venture out of the hotel.

My great-grandfather returned to England to his family, in case you were wondering.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Judith Weiss' obituary for her Uncle Al is worth reading.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Breaking News:
We're going to Mitzpe Ramon tomorrow morning for a short weekend break. We haven't been for two months and we're very excited to be going back, at last.

We'll be back Saturday.

Oh, look! According to this the Ramon Crater isn't a crater at all. The five (non)craters in the Negev are apparently such a unique geological phenomenon that the Hebrew name Makhtesh has actually entered the geological lexicon. So from now on - Makhtesh Ramon and not the Ramon Crater!
Today we remember our Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, who was murdered seven years ago (According to the Jewish calendar).

Simpson’s “world”
I saw this program on the BBC. I confess I can’t stand to watch much BBC these days, and I didn’t see it from the beginning. John Simpson, world affairs editor for the BBC could be seen strolling along wide, impressive streets in London, round the houses of Parliament, over a bridge crossing the River Thames, while giving what appeared to be a speech, full of anti-Bush sarcasm and ridicule at the American administration’s lack of understanding of how the world really works. It was also full of subtle anti-Israel sentiment, of the spluttering “well Israel’s next, of course” sort.

I found it difficult to follow the rambling substance of what he was saying as he strolled along. The camera kept swinging about. The cameraman was probably trying to be fashionably artistic, and that didn’t help my limited concentration capacity. All I could focus on was the old-world opulence and wealth of the city he was nonchalantly sauntering through, quite oblivious of how ridiculous what he was saying sounded, with this background.

While watching this self-satisfied looking gentleman walking along, sharing his educated world-view, I couldn’t help but feel how detached from reality these well-fed British intellectuals are. They take their sedate, orderly and formidable roads and buildings and bridges and rivers completely for granted. The imaginary dangers to the Western way of life, naively perceived by those ignorant Americans, have nothing to do with them.

And what was the message Simpson was trying to convey with the setting of his speech? Was he aiming at intimidating his non-British, non-Western viewers? Or maybe he felt his words would be more credible if presented in the shadow of the monumental symbols of the great British Empire? I’m sorry I missed the beginning. Maybe he embarked on his speech by apologizing that he was forced to roam the streets, aimlessly, because the studio was being renovated, or because his doctor told him to get more exercise and fresh air.

Update: My Dad says that this perambulating is a regular feature of Simpson's show. He's been seen roaming around Afghanistan, a kibbutz and quite a number of other places while explicating his various theories and hypotheses about the world. My Dad says they don't make any more sense, wherever he roams. It's always a load of rubbish, but it's amusing to watch.

The style of his presentation reminds me of David Attenborough, except that Attenborough is usually leading somewhere with his stream of verbalizations.
Nikita (Life by) has some interesting facts about Palestine and the Palestinians in her 10/16 post. For some reason I can’t link to the precise post. Must be archive problems.

Prior to partition, Palestinian Arabs did not view themselves as having a separate identity. When the First Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations met in Jerusalem in February 1919 to choose Palestinian representatives for the Paris Peace Conference, the following resolution was adopted:
We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria, as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic and geographical bonds.

In 1937, a local Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, told the Peel Commission, which ultimately suggested the partition of Palestine: "There is no such country [as Palestine]! 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria."

[…] The Report of the Palestine Royal Commission quotes an account of the Maritime Plain in 1913:

The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached [the Jewish village of] Yabna [Yavne]....Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen....The ploughs used were of wood....The yields were very poor....The sanitary conditions in the village were horrible. Schools did not exist....The western part, towards the sea, was almost a desert....The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.

Lewis French, the British Director of Development wrote of Palestine:
We found it inhabited by fellahin [Arab peasants] who lived in mud hovels and suffered severely from the prevalent malaria....Large areas...were uncultivated....The fellahin, if not themselves cattle thieves, were always ready to harbor these and other criminals. The individual plots...changed hands annually. There was little public security, and the fellahin's lot was an alternation of pillage and blackmail by their neighbors, the Bedouin.

Surprisingly, many people who were not sympathetic to the Zionist cause believed the Jews would improve the condition of Palestinian Arabs. For example, Dawood Barakat, editor of the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram, wrote: "It is absolutely necessary that an entente be made between the Zionists and Arabs, because the war of words can only do evil. The Zionists are necessary for the country: The money which they will bring, their knowledge and intelligence, and the industriousness which characterizes them will contribute without doubt to the regeneration of the country."
Moe Friedman noticed that the Bali bombing caused a sharp rise in British support for war with Iraq. Among British men, supporters of war are actually the majority.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

16 unbearable years.

Ron Arad. My heart goes out to him and his family.
Never a dull moment
My eldest daughter (11), and three of her friends (also 11) just spent the last hour stuck in the elevator. They were on their way down to the building's garden to make a movie for a Bible assignment. By the time the technician arrived to free them, it was too dark to do it outside, so they are now prancing around the living room, dressed in what they perceive to be biblical attire, shouting things like: "Take that, Son of Saul", again and again and again (or should I say take after take after take?).
On the Wazzani River crisis
by Eyal Zisser, of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.
Judith Weiss links to this article in The Economist, which surprisingly attempts to explain to its esteemed readers the difference between Israel and Iraq with regard to UN resolutions. Not a Fish esteemed readers are requested to bear in mind that The Economist is hardly known to be a pro-Israel publication.
A bit of local history
Diane of Gotham has found a 1935 newspaper article reporting the inauguration, that year, of the pipeline the British “Iraq Petroleum Company” built, running from Iraq to Haifa (another pipeline led (leads?) to Tripoli in Lebanon). "You may recall during Gulf War I reference made to the H1, H2 and H3 oilfields. Did you ever wonder what the H stands for? Answer: Haifa. The pipelines used to run from Western Iraq to Haifa".

Having grown up in Haifa, I’ve heard this before. There are also an H4 and an H5 in Jordan. These were (are?) pumping stations. There’s a map on this site (just scroll down a bit) which shows H3 and H4, and also the part of the pipeline that goes up to Tripoli in Lebanon, which was built to serve the French and is the T pipeline (T3 and so on).

Trying to find more information I was sidetracked by this very interesting account of the British Mandate in Palestine 1917-1948, from the point of view of the British Police Force in British Mandate Palestine. It initially annoyed me because I found it impartial and biased towards the Arabs. But having read it all, I think it’s wrong to judge it in that way. The British had no intention of being impartial arbitrators between Arabs and Jews when they arrived in Palestine. They intended to do what they did in all their colonies – use it to further their own interests. Palestine was, as it always has been, a convenient passage area for the transport of goods. In this case it was oil, from the Gulf area, via Haifa, back to Britain. Those pesky Jews were a bother for them. If it hadn’t been for the national aspirations of the Jews the British wouldn’t have had any problem with the local Arabs, who were accustomed to being ruled over by an external power, from afar. The British were an interested party in British Mandate Palestine and this should be remembered, when reading this account.

Some important points: This account is a description of local events, with little effort to put the events into their international historical context. The uninitiated would fail to understand that: A. Small numbers of, mainly Sephardi, Jews had resided in Palestine for centuries. Religious Jewish centers existed in Safed, Tiberias, Jerusalem (Hebron too, I think), long before the arrival of the Zionists. For centuries, some rich Jews, both Sephardi and Ashkenazi, from all over the Jewish world, would risk the hazardous roads to spend their last years in these centers, and be buried in Eretz Hakodesh (the Holy Land) ready for the arrival of the Messiah. B. The large numbers of Ashkenazi Jews were driven here in the early nineteen hundreds by atrocities in Russia and Russian dominated areas, and later, in the nineteen thirties, by the Nazis.

The account also considerably downplays the outright support of the Arabs in Palestine (and elsewhere) for the Nazis in WWII.

There is a lot to be said for the British Mandate. The Turks had neglected this land and the British did a lot to build its infrastructure. We continue to reap the benefits of it to this day. I have mentioned Tegart fortresses, before (Now I know why I couldn’t find any English links at the time. It seems I was misspelling the name). They are mentioned in this account, too. When the British arrived, the great British colony building machine moved into action and started to do its thing here, using the experience of hundreds of years.

The Jewish state continued to build up the country, but some mistakes were made. One major mistake we was canceling the train station the British wisely built in the fledgling Tel Aviv’s business area. The road is still called Rakevet (train) road, although there are no train tracks or station in sight. The customs building is still there, though, looking very strange with its raised platform, high above street level. The train is sorely needed in these days of heavy inner city traffic. Plans for an inner city light train system are finding it hard to get off the ground. I suppose the planners of Tel Aviv in the early years of the state never dreamt Tel Aviv would grow and prosper as it has done. The British didn’t need such dreams to justify the expenditure. They just did things according to long used and tested blueprints.

But I digress. I’m good at that. One of the more informative parts of this British Police account is the chapter that describes the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 (which they call “The Arab Troubles”). Few people in the West realize that the Intifada of the late nineteen eighties was not actually the first Arab uprising here.

The various gangs attacked Jewish settlements and blocked roadways and caused police to abandon small police posts which were then burned down.

In some evacuated areas so-called provisional Arab Governments were set up, imposed their own taxes and even issued their own stamps. On 8th. October, 1938 Jenin police station was attacked but the tiny police garrison managed to hold out until relieved by the Army. Jericho was evacuated and the police station was burned to the ground and while Ramallah was held, the surrounding countryside was dominated and ruled by its local gang. Jerusalem, Beersheba and Gaza came under gang rule but Nablus, Acre and Nazereth were held.

From the autumn of 1937 and through 1938 terrorist bombings increased and every day Arabs and Jews were killed and maimed indiscriminately. Railways were attacked as were Jewish settlements and the Iraq Petroleum Company's pipeline to Haifa was blown up every week. The Jewish settlements managed to defend themselves by the use of illegally obtained rifles although they were officially only allowed the use of Greener guns, a weapon useless for long distance fire. At this time there were two Divisions of the British Army in Palestine and slowly the security forces regained the initiative.

The guys who wrote the account haven’t neglected to supply that very English literary thingamabob (I know you sent me a lovely thesaurus Dad, but even with a thesaurus I need something to start with and it doesn’t list thingamabob) - the comic relief: It was decided in Damascus that for political reasons the Fez or Tarbush should not be worn as headgear and in rural areas the traditional Arab head dress of headcloth and cords or Hatta wa Aqal was worn. Anyone wearing a Fez was likely to be assaulted and this practice became known to Police as "Fez bashing."

[Thank you, Gil, for the tip on the fonts. I know it wasn't intended for me, but I have benefited, nonetheless.]
American Christian supporters of Israel.
In the months running up to December 1999, Israeli police had to deport a few quirky Christian sect members, apparently having received information that these people had plans to hurry things along with regard to certain New Testament prophecies due to fulfill themselves at the turn of the century (and not realizing that the turn of the century was actually due exactly one year later). Much less such groups arrived than anticipated and I suppose most of them just wanted to be on the spot when it happened and didn’t really mean to take part.

Recently we’ve been hearing that we shouldn’t really be putting our trust in Christian supporters of Israel in America, because their motives are suspect. I’ve been reading blogs written by American Christian supporters of Israel for a few months now and they have served to strengthen my conviction that those millenium sect members are not representative and are no more than a fringe phenomenon.

Nikita Demosthenes answers the charge that Christian supporters of Israel are hoping Armageddon is just around the corner and their support of Israel is to further this end. Here’s another post of his on the subject.

It is a “he”, I know this because he e-mailed me. It’s OK. Nikita Khrushchev was also a “he”. I’m digressing again.

Nikita complains that liberal-minded Jews are making these claims, but I think that some religious Jews have been saying this too, mainly because they are worried about Christian missionaries. This is actually quite amusing, considering the extreme and aggressive tactics implemented by some ultra-religious Jews in Israel to persuade secular Jews to become religious.

I don’t think they’d be at all amused by the comparison.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

My workplace is a ten-minute leisurely saunter from the beach. In the thirteen years I have been working there, I have never once contemplated forfeiting the inedible, but free, lunch offered by my employers, for a stroll there, toes in the warm sand, wind in my hair, blah blah.

Well, yesterday I did it. I confess I didn’t actually give up my lunch. I went afterwards. (Sssssh, don’t tell on me). I reckoned it wouldn’t be too hot because it was cloudy and rain was expected.

There is something magical about the beach. Even though this strip of beach is right near a busy main road, descending towards the beach a lull fell. All was quiet. You couldn’t hear the traffic, just the wind and the sea. There weren’t a lot of people: A few stay-at-home moms with babies. Lucky them. Imagine coming to the beach with kids on weekdays when it’s empty, instead of going to work. They all seemed to know each other so this must be a regular thing; a few youngsters, maybe students, or people who worked at night; some pensioners. The pensioners were the only ones who ventured into the water, for some reason.

There were a lot of pigeons. Every so often they all flew up in the air together, like pigeons do, and I felt I was being swept up with them. I sat on the sand, wondering if I’d be able to brush it off later, so no one would see, when I went back to work. It gradually became very overcast and windy.

I sat there for nearly an hour. I just couldn’t tear myself away. Watching the water, the pigeons, and the approaching clouds. Feeling the wind on my face and body, making my hair a tangled mess (OK, Mum, a more tangled mess than usual).

When I finally left, the quiet seemed to come with me. Maybe it was the wind that gave that feeling, or the quiet before the rain. It did rain in the end, but not very much.

When I got back to work, no one had even noticed I had been gone. Things get a bit sleepy just after lunch.

Next time I’ll take something to put on the sand, to sit or lie down on. That is, if the next time isn’t in another thirteen years time.

Monday, October 14, 2002

NYC Indymedia: Mossad Bombs Kill Almost 200 in Bali Tourist Nightspot
Told you.

Among the many (less than complimentary) comments:
You are destroying the hopes of Palestinians
by A. Assad

History is littered with all those who have villified the Jewish people. Your ignorant hatred is betraying the legitimate grievances and aspirations of me and my fellow Palestinians. Shame on you.

Noticed by Bish. Oh, look, Taranto noticed it, too.

Update: The comments continue to amuse. Quite a few familiar commenters, as well (Lawrence Simon, for one). There's even one good one attributed to the author of the article. I assume it's a prankster. :-)
Just kidding
by Dean Bates

You people are so sensitive. Lighten up. I thought Jews had a sense of humor.

Diane L. came clean about that one on LGF. The comments there are hilarious too.

Here's another good one.
Where is the frog?
He should be back by now.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

"Hell is heaven with people". Bish.
How many more innocent people are going to die before the bozos get it into their thick skulls that Israel is just A TRIAL RUN?
Has anyone noticed yet that there were no ISRAELIS killed in Bali?
Haggai went to the University of Michigan Divestment Conference. Here is his account of the event. I admire his courage.
By The Limey Brit.

Alone among the crowd an evil lurks
Behind a beard, a veil, a ballcap, a smile, even.
Can you pick out today's attempt?
Do you see the one who hates enough to die
Early, to invoke, for an instant, earthly Hell?
Fiery fury, detonated in a bus, exploded in the marketplace,
Grabs eight and a half lives to an all-too-soon conclusion.
He goes to Hell, his seventy two virgins unmet.
In whose plan do the murdered innocents follow him?
Justice may not equal the victim with her killer.
Keep her near your mercy, not your wrath.
Let your rage fall not upon those upon whom death has fallen.
Men cry aloud in the streets of Jerusalem;
No one will hear the pleas of the aggrieved for peace.
Once again we hear the old refrain:
"Palestine will not be occupied!"
Quote not the suppressed voice of reason,
Regarded here as treasonous collaboration and
Shot accordingly.
To the "victors" go the spoils;
Ululating former mothers praise their sacrifice, rewarded with status, cash, prestige.
Vene vidi vici has always been the dream,
Where one day the last Jew will be pushed into the sea.
Xenophobic hate is swelling, heaving, boiling, exploding.
You turn your face away?
Zion burns again.

Andrew Duncalfe, the Limey Brit himself. Is that a brilliant name or what?

Sent to me by Dan Lovelady. First thing I read today. Strong stuff for 5:30 in the morning. We don't usually have any suicide attacks before 7:45.
Haaretz thinks nature is a tragedy
Haaretz translated this NYT story about that lioness in Kenya that adopted the oryxes. But they changed the header to: “The lioness tourist attraction in Kenya ended in tragedy: The lioness that adopted oryxes killed and ate one of them”. This is not what happened at all, but the editors obviously didn’t read the story to the end (if at all). And anyway, since when is a lioness doing what lionesses do a tragedy?
More strike stuff.
This is what I wrote about the subject in August, when it was only a warning strike. I had no doubt at the time that there would be a full blown strike after the "Hagim" (which is now). These guys have to show they're doing something if they want to be reelected. And they do, more than anything. The country can go to h&#l, for all they care.
This is just what I was telling you about: Haaretz is hardly a left-wing publication with regard to the economy, while at the same time being fanatically dovish. I happen to agree with every word of this editorial about the strike that began today, which frankly disgusts me, although I stand to gain from it. They can take any gains of this strike and stuff them, for all I’m concerned. Money has no smell, they say, but any money ill gotten as a result of this strike, stinks to high heaven.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

If you are interested in Jewish heritage in Central and Eastern Europe, you might like to visit Centropa, which is a new online archive of photos and oral histories.

I read about it in Haaretz's print edition, but I'm too tired to look for the Haaretz link right now, if there is one. G'night.
Who gassed Gaza?
Chemical weapons have been used before in the Middle East.

Guess who Saddam’s predecessors were. I’ll give you a hint. It was in Gaza. And it wasn’t Israel.

It was the British, against the Turks in 1917. It seems they didn't manage to do much harm with it, though.
The Culpepper Log managed to bait me with this story of how Arafat tried to assassinate Colin Powell this April. The source is Yossef Bodansky’s new book. I’m not sure how reliable he is as a source, but it requires a lot of gall for someone described here as “director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare” to publish such a claim in a book if it is a complete fabrication.

The story of the attempted assassination is interesting, although, if true, doomed to fail because the Shabak (Shin Bet) routinely “cleans” areas that such possible targets as Powell are going to pass through. I was witness to such a “cleaning” operation myself around the same period, which was a very tense one, if you remember, when I found myself at a location soon to be visited by Defense Minister Ben Eliezer.
The Palestinian Authority has the ability to fight Hamas when it kills one of their own. When asked to curb Hamas’ terrorist activity against Israel they claim they can’t because Israel has destroyed the infrastructure. It seems they can but won’t. Why is this being ignored by the world? (Rhetorical question).
Farid Lancheros left me a comment suggesting I linked to him, as a Palestinian blog. I visited his blog and I really enjoyed reading it. He seems to be a lovely person. His blog is a far cry from pro-Palestinian blogs I have visited in the past, most of which have managed to deeply offend me personally after about thirty seconds. Farid’s blog is nothing like that. It is a pleasant and gentle place to visit, very peaceful.

I understand that Farid suggested I link to him to show that Palestinians are not only the conflict, which is something I wrote yesterday. But the thing is, reading his blog, I initially thought he’d given the wrong URL. I could find nothing to suggest that a Palestinian wrote this, apart from the fact that he had attended an anti-war rally and made some pro-Palestinian comments. Delving further, while enjoying Farid’s description of his life as a New Yorker, I found that Farid is of mixed Palestinian and Colombian descent. I found his poignant and frank descriptions of his life as an openly gay man and a rehabilitated alcoholic moving. But Farid is first and foremost an American. This is quite evident from his writing. Describing his blog as a Palestinian blog is misleading. A few pro-Israeli bloggers are Israeli-born or have lived in Israel, some grew up in Israel, but they don’t describe their blogs as Israeli blogs.

I was elated with the Oslo Accords. I fantasized about Peres’ “New Middle East”. I could envision Israelis and Palestinians evolving together as a confederacy, two independent states working together to create an economic and cultural heaven. I read excitedly about development projects in the Palestinian Authority. I hoped I would soon be able to spend my holidays in the lovely new Palestinian hotels. I once went shopping in Kalkilya and was excited to see Palestinian policemen directing the traffic and Palestinian taxi drivers waiting for fares. It reminded me of the stories of the early days of the state of Israel when every little thing was a great achievement. I thought the Palestinians should surely succeed economically. The merchants were growing rich. Israelis queued for hours (literally), every Shabbat, to get to a West Bank town called Bidya, known mainly for its cheap furniture. Israelis flocked to the casino in Jericho. I know of the universities, the schools and the hospitals. I’ve seen the high-rise apartment buildings in Gaza (sadly only on TV) and the Gazan families sitting at cafes on the beach. I had been to Gaza City before Oslo, so I could appreciate the difference. I know that Palestinians are not just the conflict, Farid.

But why, oh, why are the Palestinians so wrapped up in their anger and vengefulness that they would rather side with the hate-filled fanatics and bring this whole delicate pack of cards down? As anyone who has ever been fortunate enough to be part of that rare institute, a happy marriage, even for a short while, knows, building a life together requires endless patience and compromise, giving each other time and space to grow, side by side. I accept that Israel also has a lot to learn in this respect. But the Palestinians seem set on murdering the spouse.

Farid, all this has very little to do with your life. You live somewhere else, in a peaceful place, where you are free to pursue your personal goals, and even your sexual preference. I very much doubt you will be coming to live in the Palestinian State when it is established (and may we all see it established in peace in our lifetime). Yours is not a Palestinian blog.

I will link to your blog, Farid, not as a Palestinian blog, but as an interesting blog I would like to visit again, written by an American Palestinian.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Five dead in Helsinki explosion. They’re not sure yet if it was a bomb or a gas leak.

Another suicide bombing prevented. This time in Tel Aviv.
Did Sharon visit Moscow disguised as
Abu Mazen????

Maariv reports that Palestinian Authority no. 2 Abu Mazen attacked Arafat with harsh words, using phrases usually used by US government heads and Prime Minister Sharon. The source – “a confidential report sent by top Russian government officials to their Washington colleagues following Abu Mazen’s visit to Moscow last week.

The report adds that Abu Mazen and other Palestinian top officials are very close in their views to the standpoint of the Israeli government and that there is a nearly complete correlation between the views presented by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the viewpoint presented by Abu-Mazen a few days later.

Following Abu Mazen’s visit to Moscow, which took place immediately following Sharon’s visit, the Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov phoned his American counterpart Colin Powell and reported the developments, called by some diplomatic sources “dramatic”. A wider and more detailed written report was later transmitted from Moscow to Washington, and part of it reached the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem

The reports pointed out, among other things, that Abu Mazen convened the Arab ambassadors and conducted a discussion with them described as “sharp and genuine”. Abu Mazen said, among other things, that Arafat made a grave mistake when he didn’t prevent the outbreak of the Intifada and headed it. He said that he and other top Palestinian officials warned Arafat, time and time again, but he didn’t heed them. According to Abu Mazen, the Intifada has brought the Palestinians very harsh results, to a severe failure in all fields, to a loss of purpose and to a dead end.

Abu Mazen pointed out that he and other Palestinian leaders have come to the understanding that they must accept Israel’s demand: A complete cessation of the violence, of all kinds, as a first stage. Only after complete quiet returns can the political process be rehabilitated, he said.

According to the Russian report, the secret negotiations between PM Sharon and top Palestinian officials led to a complete acceptance of the layout offered by Sharon: First a cessation of violence, then a renewal of the political negotiation towards the establishment of a Palestinian state within temporary borders. Abu Mazen said that in the current situation it would be very difficult to calm the field and to impose its authority over the rejectionist organizations."


Sorry there’s more, but I’ve got to go over and see my Mum, now.

(My translation, by the way).

Shabbat Shalom!