Wednesday, July 31, 2002

I knew she was a Westerner, Diane. It wasn't just her coloring. It was something about her.
Boaz Shabo tells Haaretz his thoughts about the terrorist attack which took his wife and three of their seven children.
Have you ever noticed
that people who were there always describe the silence immediately after the blast?
No matter how many times I hear this, it always freaks me out.

Maybe it’s because silence normally means peacefulness, calm, tranquility.
Pretty strong criticism
of Arafat and Palestinian violence, by a Tunisian columnist. First seen by Fred Lapides, translated by MEMRI.
Life is hard in former Spanish Prime Minister's old hunting lodge.
This terrorist isn't married, girls. Definitely every Palestinian mother's dream son-in-law.
No Laissez Faire here.
Ehud Ya'ari, top Israeli expert on Arab affairs, maintains that if we don't see a hands-on day-to-day international involvement in implementation of PA reforms, they ain't gonna happen.
A Must!
Important stuff for those who come in contact with pro-Palestinians and could do with some extra ammo. Read and distribute.

Sylvana Foa is pretty left wing. If she's writing this, she must be getting fed up as well.

Thank you, Fred Lapides.
I'm relieved to see Renatinha is OK
They said on the news that there were quite a few new immigrants hurt in the attack.
A distant memory
Right behind the University, there’s an Arab village called Issawiya. It was always known to be hostile. I remember stones occasionally being thrown from the village on cars driving down to Ein Gedi, on the Dead Sea, even before the first Intifada. I remember watching the buses, bringing the terrorists freed as part of the Jibril deal in 1985, arriving in the village. But my strongest memory of Issawiya is a young goatherd I saw once or twice. She seemed in her late teens or early twenties and we stared at each other curiously for a little while and then each continued on her way. She was obviously a Westerner, with fair skin, blue eyes and curls burnt blond by the sun. I was a young soldier. Talking to her would have been inappropriate.
Frank Sinatra Cafeteria, Hebrew University, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem. 7 dead, 85 wounded.

I know what you're thinking.
That Imshin's calling everyone else silly idiots and she mucked up the percentages in the "ditsy far-left" posting. Sorry. It was rather late, and I had spent the afternoon in the pool. The sun must have affected my brain. I've surreptitiously fixed it. No one will ever know. Don't tell anyone will you?
On Cyber-Terrorism
James S. Robbins, National Review.
Here's another beaut
Someone searched google for "How to control the wife?" and reached me. That'll amuse Bish.
And what is the Israeli ditsy far-left up to these days?
A friend lent me the first issue of a new anti-consumerism publication that just came out in Israel, called Od! (Translation: More!, as in “Please, Sir I want some…). I was amused to see that it costs a mere 39.90 shekels (that’s about $8.50). But that’s all right. That’s not consumerism because the name on the cover is very, very, very tiny. You can hardly see it at all (At first I wasn’t sure which side was the front). It’s edited by Ronen Eidelman of Indymedia Israel fame.

I read quite a lot of stuff each day, not nearly as much as my official numero uno Reader (with a capital “R”) Fred Lapides, but still. So I can honestly say I haven’t read anything as boring, longwinded, repetitive and unimaginative (did I forget pompous?) as this, in a longtime.

One of the main contributors is a well known cable TV video clip presenter. She has taken the time to enlighten us about the adverse effect of brand names to our psyche. She bases this on unsubstantiated claims such as “Severe concentration problems have been noted among boys and girls that have been exposed to a large amount of information channels from an early age”. (I’d say it would take me no longer than half an hour to personally round up at least a dozen examples that prove the exact opposite, taking into account that it's the middle of the night right now. I’ve got two asleep in the next room for a start). The conclusion of her learned essay, the apex of her effort, is that placing advertising placards in open inter-city areas is stealing people’s right “not to know”, is “forced advertising”, is “occupation of the private thought”, is “throwing garbage in the brain of a person”. She obviously isn’t aware that placing advertising placards in open inter-city areas is also against the law in the State of Israel. So what on earth is she talking about?

As if we hadn’t had enough of this nitwit, ten pages of “provocative” photographs later (photographs immortalizing criminal acts of defacing inner-city advertisement placards, photographs intruding on women soldiers’ privacy and so on) she’s back. This time she’s on about mothers and their soldier sons as depicted in Israeli advertising. “…Fourth, he’s a victim. The Israeli soldier bears the guilt of the whole country, the child sent to defend his family, or more precisely the child sent to perpetrate its atrocities in its stead, so it can continue to set up that same consumer normality.” After all, is there any other purpose for our being here? “… The advertisers in Israel choose to ignore the new soldier: The brute, the guilty one, the one who agonizes, the conquerer…” The one who agonizes? Hmm. I think I’ll just pop into the Refuseniks’ site again. See how the count’s coming. Oh, it’s up to 474. So what percentage would that be of all IDF soldiers and reservists? 0,1%? 0,2%? I’d say this shows some serious agonizing going on. The percentages of brutes and other nasties are probably just as high.

What else have we got here? Oh, a poem, that’s nice. Translated from which language? It doesn’t say. Bit cryptic for this uneducated ignoramus. What’s that? “For sale what the Jews haven’t sold…” Sounds rather anti-Semitic. Maybe the esteemed Indymedia editor guy didn’t really get it. Can’t blame him for that, can we?

OK,OK, enough already.

But before I go I have to ask these pathetic, disconnected, self-important idiots one question: Is this the best you could do? Look around you!

(While I was reading this silly publication someone blew himself up in the center of Jerusalem, wounding innocent passers-by).

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

The UK media are focusing on Iraq
For example, the Guardian reviews the options while the Telegraph is making small talk. The Times is just being silly and the independent is hoping that "the hugely popular Mr. Powell" (they don't say hugely popular with whom) will have his way.
Property ownership statistics show that Israel is not as unequal a society as widely believed and it's apparently a good place to move to.
Amnon Rubinstein brings some statistics about the gradual closing of the economic gaps between Arabs anfd Jews in Israel and between new immigrants and veteran Israelis, as reflected in ownership of property.
Did you see this, R.T.?
"Advances in Israeli biotech and drug development have persuaded management at U.S. pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., Inc. of Whitehouse Station, N.J., to add Israel to the list of countries in which it would like to invest."

Fred lapides noticed this at GedankenPundit.
Too hot to think, let alone write.
Jerusalem. 7 injured, only perpetrator dies.
Little Green Footballs refers to a UK Observer story about what's happening to Westerners working in Saudi Arabia.
According to the story the current unrest there all started with that girls school thing. The Observer says "Revolution is in the air. Demonstrators are taking to the streets. Bombs are planted in cars. And Westerners can only watch and hope they survive." (My emphasis)
They can also leave!!!! It's not like they're waiting to get citizenship or anything.

Monday, July 29, 2002

"Terror as a Strategy of Psychological Warfare” by Boaz Ganor
I think what we’re seeing in Israel is something that has never been experienced before in quite this way, with regard to terrorism. That is: What happens when the terrorists go too far?

According to Ganor’s article, the goal of the terrorist is to “undermine the sense of security and to disrupt everyday life so as to harm the target country’s ability to function. The goal of this strategy is, in turn, to drive public opinion to pressure decision-makers to surrender to the terrorists’ demands. Thus the target population becomes a tool in the hands of the terrorist in advancing the political agenda in the name of which the terrorism is perpetrated.”

Ganor explains that the terrorist attack is aimed at three communities: The terrorist’s own community, the targeted community and International public opinion.

The Palestinians were doing very well on all three levels up to a point. Then they started to go too far. The targeted community (that’s us, unfortunately) has come to feel so threatened by the attacks as to see them as a threat to its very existence. Not being of a suicidal state of mind (well, mostly anyway) the community has switched to a “fight” (as opposed to “flight”) mode.

This “fight” mode has caused the targeted community to strike out fiercely at the terrorist’s community, causing just enough suffering to the terrorist’s community as to make it begin to rethink the effectiveness of the terrorist strategy. It has also begun to realize that instead of advancing its political agenda, the terrorists have actually caused a regression in the chances of achieving their goals. International public opinion, although generally very sympathetic to the terrorists’ political agenda, has started to be disgusted by their strategy.

We learn, therefore, that terrorism as an effective strategy has its limits and can be counterproductive. I think this is the lesson of 9/11, as well.

I hope so, anyway.

Article pointed out by Fred Lapides.
Minister without a cause David Levy resigned from Israeli Government
This guy's main claim to fame (besides being the world's most incredible political survivor against all odds) is always being the first rat to flee the sinking ship. Now everyone's asking if Sharon's government is on the way out.
Nine Orphans
17-year-old Ayelet Dikstein was orphaned along with her eight brothers and sisters when a Palestinian terrorist gunned down her mother, father and 9-year-old brother in South Mount Hebron this weekend. This is her story, as told to Yediot Aharonot:

“We were all riding in the car. I don’t know what was happening with me that day, but I was playing the recorder all the way. When we reached the Gush Etzyon intersection I fell asleep. We were six children in the car (out of 10 in the family – I.J.) and everyone was lying down or asleep, when suddenly it was like fireworks, there was a lot of shooting. I don’t remember hearing shouting, but my brother Shlomo says there was hysteria and then it became quiet. Mom and my brother were killed immediately. Dad was holding Mom’s head, which was dripping with loads of blood. When the shooting stopped he got out of the car and stood by it, probably wanting to see what was happening with us. On the right side of the road was a tall man with a weapon and a strap round his body. He looked like a soldier on leave. He suddenly took up the weapon, looked at us, turned round to face the car and shot a burst into Dad’s heart.

Then he looked at us in the eyes again, and I looked at him. He’d probably finished his bullets. Then his friend threw him a cartridge from above, but he didn’t get it, he just continued walking calmly to wards the hill, very slowly.
Dad was lying on the ground. Shlomo, who was lightly wounded, asked him what’s happening, and he said everything’s OK. Shlomo took his kippa (yarmulka) and covered Mom’s bleeding wound. We looked for the cell phone in all of Mom’s blood. I searched the memory (of the cell phone- I.J.) but I couldn’t find anything. In the nd I dialed 100 (police) and said that there had been a pigua (terrorist attack) in the Gush intersection, and that Mom, Dad and my brother were dead.

The first to arrive were Arab families. They saw the car and reversed back. All my brothers and sisters looked dead. Only later I understood that only Mom, Dad and Shuv-El were dead. I wanted to look at dad to see what he looked like, but I couldn’t look at Mom.

And then the driver of a big commercial vehicle arrived. I ran to him and asked him to help us. I hugged him and began to cry. He dialed his phone and started to shout that he was alone with a gun and he couldn’t guard all the children, he must have been talking to the army or the police. I lay under the car and through the wheels I saw the paramedics covering my Dad. I said to my brothers and sisters “Look at our parents in the black bags”.”

A few minutes after the pigua the eldest brother, 20-year-old Tzvi, rang Ayelet. “I rang to say “Shabbat Shalom” to all the family,” He says, “Ayelet suddenly told me there had been a pigua and Dad, Mom and Shuv-El had been killed.” Ayelet continues, “He was very angry and told me not to joke about such things, But I wasn’t joking.”

(My translation)
A widow forgives the killer of her husband.
This is true compassion.
Israel's not having any of it
Haaretz says Israel has announced that the proppsed Tanzim-Hamas agreement is just not good enough. Israel insists on broad security reforms and the cessation of incitement before any dialogue. "Sharon's demands are for a total end to the terror, violence and incitement, the establishment of a new Palestinian security force to fight terror, and replacement of the leadership headed by Yasser Arafat".

Sharon is one tough cookie.
More archaeological artifacts are being looted
as a result of the Israel-Palestinian war.
These guys obviously haven't heard about the boycott, bless them.
This article explains why "Iraq first - MidEast peace later".
Go for it, Bush. We're right behind you with our gas masks ready. On second thoughts, maybe you could wait till the fall. That security room is awfully hot and stuffy.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Middle East News Online says the US is refurbishing three abandoned Iraqi air force bases in Kurdistan.
"Iraqi opposition sources said the effort began nearly a year ago and involves the repair of runways and facilities meant to accommodate U.S. warplanes and transport aircraft".
This from Fred Lapides.
How much foreign aid did you say the US gives Egypt?

"An American Senator attacks Egypt in his article"
Refusenik watch
The number of Israelis who signed the letter indicating that they refuse to do their bit is now 470. Not much nearer 500 than it was last week, is it?
Lucky us
Jesse Jackson has come to save the day.

Some good has come from the security room problem
Pushed to the wall about removing their stuff, the neighbors (who really are quite nice, it just that they’ve got a space problem, don’t we all?) have expressed a willingness to donate the furniture they’ve got stored in the security room. So we’re organizing for the furniture to be taken away and given to the needy, with the help of a family member who’s very active in volunteer work.

Would you believe it
I got a hit from someone who searched google for “Ehud Barak looks like a turtle”!
What about Yasser Arafat the toad, guys?
The following is dedicated to SAH, although I don’t think this is exactly what she had in mind:

Keeping the anger and bitterness alive (and not Palestinians this time).
A friend told me that there are plans to establish a new far left political party in Israel. She said that among others, Hakeshet Hademokratit Hamizrahit might be taking part. This got my attention because this movement interests me.

Hakeshet Hademokratit Hamizrahit is a far left movement established by Jews originating from Arab countries. This is unusual in Israel because the majority of Sephardi and Mizrahi (Eastern) Jews in Israel are hawkish and tend to vote for right wing and nationalist parties. Hakeshet Hademokratit (translation of the name: the Eastern Democratic Spectrum) has been trying to raise awareness in Israel's slums and "development towns" on social and economic issues.

So far their public struggles have lead to a law allowing people living in public housing to cheaply purchase the homes they’ve been living in and paying a low rent for, for many these years. The idea is based on the fact that many kibbutzim and moshavim have been selling parts of the state land they live on and cultivate to real estate companies and realizing the profits. Hakeshet Hademokratit claims that there is no difference between the kibbutzim and moshavim’s rights to their homes and the rights of people living in public housing, squatters and Arabs living in “unofficial” villages. On the other hand, they are opposed to the sale of state-owned agricultural land for personal profit, a practice the kibbutzim and moshavim are engaging in under the auspices of the Israel Lands Council.

All this seemed to me to be very just and I began reading articles by people affiliated with Hakeshet Hademokratit. I was saddened by what I found. Many of these articles reveal a strongly anti-Zionist sentiment and are filled with a romantic yearning for their past in Arab countries. The writers claim that they feel much more connected to what they see as their Arab brethren than to Ashkenazi Jews and to the State of Israel.

They seem to be motivated by deep hatred for European culture and by feelings of being personally wronged by all Ashkenazis (Jews from European origin) and what they call the ruling Ashkenazi elite. Hakeshet Hademokratit is made up of a highly intellectual and educated group. Many of them are deeply influenced by European philosophy and political and social thinking. It seems it’s only Jewish European culture that offends them so much.

Some time ago I began visiting Kedma, the Israeli Eastern portal. It has a very active forum, with extremely learned and intelligent discussions on the matters of Eastern Jews’ discrimination that they see as inherent in Israeli society. They also widely discuss Israel’s Nazi tactics with regard to the Palestinians. The forum is strongly anti-Askenazi. It seems they are prepared to make allowances only for Ashkenazis that bow to their views and accept their cultural superiority.

Sami Shalom Shitreet, educator and poet, is editor of the portal, and runs the forum. I first heard about this guy when he opened a school in a South Tel Aviv neighborhood a few years ago. The goal of the school was education from an unapologetic Eastern point of view, making a point of teaching the kids about their Eastern cultural heritage. I though at the time that this sounded like a good idea, and mentally wished him luck. Sadly, the school was a dismal failure. In the last year or two of its existence, the school had tiny registration numbers and it closed (I remember reading in the local paper that there were six new kids in the school’s last year). At the time, the local newspaper suggested that this was because the children and their parents didn’t want to be classified as specifically “Eastern”, and preferred to go to ordinary “mixed” schools. Shitreet claims that the Municipality was against him from the start and gave him a hard time (even though it was a publicly funded school).

Other educators regard Sami Shalom Shitreet as a very talented and able educator. I had a few short discussions with him on the portal forum, and he was always very nice and soft-spoken even when we disagreed. But his articles show him as angry and vindictive. He holds the view that most Eastern Jews are brainwashed into despising their own cultural background. I think that’s another one of the reasons he gives for the failure of the Kedma School in Tel Aviv.

But this doesn’t explain the huge popularity for Eastern style Israeli music and dancing (and not only amongst Eastern Jews) in Israel today. Eastern style (“belly”) dancing and darbuka (Eastern drum) are very fashionable evening classes for grown-ups and children, in affluent neighborhoods and not only in working class areas. Kedma people seem to despise this popular stuff as garbage orientalism. Some people are never satisfied.

People from Hakeshet Hademokratit and Kedma believe that racial discrimination, purposely directed by the state and the “Ashkenazi elite”, against Jews from Arab countries has kept them down, socially and economically. I agree there has been discrimination. I agree we must work to close social and economic gaps. I think investing in education in poor and peripheral areas is paramount.

But seeing the discrimination as intentional and conspiratorial and directed by the state and by the “Ashkenazi elite” as do the people from Hakeshet Hademokratit and Kedma is wrong and can be very harmful. I believe that the discrimination stems mainly from ignorance and fear of change. And we’ve come a long way in this respect in the last forty years or so.

I know so many educated and accomplished Sephardi Jews (I even married one), many with powerful jobs and successful businesses that I disagree vehemently with the assertion that racial discrimination has forcibly kept down Eastern Jews and kept them out of the ruling elite. In both my daughters’ classes in a school in a well-to-do North Tel Aviv neighborhood, at least 2/5 of the students are Sephardi or mixed (this is an estimate, I haven’t counted). This could not be the case if there was active discrimination, or if Sephardis were unwelcome in Ashkenazi dominated neighborhoods. Of course, Hakeshet and Kedma people despise these successful Sephardi Jews who belong to “the elite” as being brainwashed and as serving to prolong the injustice.

I support Hakeshet’s lobbying for equality and impartiality in the distribution of state investments in education and housing. I agree that Eastern Jews have a rich history and culture that should be taught in schools. I think this is all in order, and timely. But Hakeshet and Kedma seem to be coming from a place of deep hatred, and are working to actively spread this hatred, and this, in my mind, is destructive and harmful.

Saturday, July 27, 2002

This sounds familiar.
For you Dad: “Most of what I perceive as the negative aspects of Christianity (or any other religion) manifest when a single faith comes to dominate in a society. At that point, like all other human institutions, it begins to become obsessed with power and control and empire building; it begins to interfere in areas I don't believe it belongs, and it starts trying to use its muscle to coerce non-believers into either becoming believers or living by the precepts of the church even if not a member, and in particular to trying to suppress other religions. The most extreme manifestation of that in recent memory was the Taliban, but a study of history makes clear that religious authorities will usually try to manipulate temporal events if they think they can, and various Christian churches have a long and glorious history of such behavior.”
Sadly relevant to Israeli society with regard to the relationship between religious and secular Jews.
I stand corrected
M., who has seen me after a few glasses of wine, and therefore probably knows me quite well, says "figs and sun-dried sheets" is quite pertinent.

I know, I know. I said I’d leave it. So I’m inconsistent. So I can’t be trusted. So shoot me.
But I like the way Wesley Dabney puts it. “Since we are on the subject of legal targets, what makes a target legal? First, there is something called "necessity" when selecting targets. Some questions the army asks are things like "if we don't shoot this target, will friendlies get killed? Or "would shooting this target save more lives than are currently at that location?" If the answer is yes to either, IT IS A VALID MILITARY TARGET regardless if there are civilians at that location and that is backed up by international case law. You may not like it.. but that is reality. IMO, Israel met the requirements and in taking out the target, saved Israeli lives.”

Blogger is sooooooo sloooooow
Although at first this was annoying, it has turned out to be quite an advantage. While I’m waiting for something to happen on the screen, I’ve been doing long neglected housework.
Mona Charen on double standard with regard to Israel-Palestinian conflict
Posted by Dawson.
Facts of Israel tells about a Maltese journalist, Simone Zammit Endrich, being prosecuted for speaking out against Palestinian terrorism and her governments support of it.

Thank you, Fred Lapides, for pointing this out to me.
Fred Lapides sent me a thought. And some other words.
"A thought. I note that many papers in the US and elsewhere point out that
the terror groups were going to suspend their doings and try for peace
talks. And that the Israelis, suspicious of this, went ahead and killed the
Hamas guy and a number of innocents, which in turn made the Arabs give uyp
plans for peace talks.
If they really were interested in peace, they would have used this
opportunity to say Now let us sit down and talk because this is an endless
cycle of violence.
My point: when Hamas et al were continuing to kill Israelis, the U.S.
and others said Israel ought to negotiate nonetheless because the terror
would not stop till an accord reach.
That is ok for Israel. But why not now for the Arabs?"

Gil Sterzer shares his fatalistic way of thinking, in view of the Hamas determination to avenge the blood of Shehadeh and the innocents killed with him.
"There is no doubt that they will succeed to execute a few terror attack out of their overall planing, and there is no doubt that Israelis will be murdered. What can I do about it? Well nothing actually. I’ve got more important things to do then to stay at home worried."

All very true, this is definitely the spirit, but...
it's more difficult to adopt this attitude when you have people you're responsible for such as children, and so on. Besides feeling responsible for keeping my daughters out of dangers way, as much as possible, it flashes through my mind occasionally that I have to make an effort to try to stay alive myself, for their sake, if not for my own.
Dennis Ross on Syria, Iran and Hizbullah.
Iraqi Jews
The weekend Haaretz offers two features about Iraqi Jews. The first describes a change in the rhetoric of Iraqi intelligentsia about the reasons for the Jews mass exodus. The second is a critique about a book that exposes little known facts about Iraqi Jewish life before that exodus. This story is critical of the realities of Baghdad Jewish life as depicted in books such as Eli Amir’s “Farewell Baghdad” and Sami Michael’s “Victoria”. I personally think these are wonderful books, and I wholeheartedly recommend them. These books don’t seem to be available in English online. What a pity. These are Hebrew links. Could someone tell me how they can be purchased in English?
Goldberg the Great has spoken
Go read about "the inactivist manifesto".
I'm completely fed up of "the ceasefire" and Shehadeh
If you want to continue following these issues, visit Tal G. and Israeli Guy.

But just one more thing on this. Hannah Kim, who usually writes about the ins and outs of Israeli politics in Haaretz, gives a very plausible sounding explanation for the ceasefire story. It is a very explicit and detailed description of the process that led up to the nearly ceasefire. It's weakeness in my eyes is that it is rather romantic and decidedly anglophile. I'm wondering who her sources are and if they are more reliable than Ehud Ya'ari's. I didn't get to hear Ya'ari this evening.

I again remind you that the ceasefire discussed is not actually a ceasing of fire, but actually a ceasing of targeting Israeli civilians (a war crime), while continuing the violent struggle with the Israeli Army.
Continuing the War of Independence
I recently visited the IDF Museum. It’s made up of a large collection of weapons displayed in and around small pavilions that used to be barracks of a British army base. Each pavilion displays weapons of a different period, a different war.

Initial reaction: Uh, boring. But it wasn’t at all boring. It was fascinating and very moving. The guidance was excellent, connecting the weapons to the human stories behind them. They do tours in English, by the way. Worth a visit if you’re in the Tel Aviv area (tel. 03-5161346).

What struck me most, in the Museum, was the similarity of our current situation to the period of the Independence war of 1948. It seems to me that that war never really ended. There have been long periods of ceasefire from that time up to the present day, with outbreaks of warfare in the middle, when things heated up.

Westerners are talking about ’67 all the time because they see the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as the turning point that changed us from the goodies to the baddies. They see that as the focal point of the conflict. Most left wing Israelis see it this way as well. But the real issue for the Arabs is our very being here. How much of their land we occupy is just a detail. Of course, they exploit the '67 occupation point to their best advantage. Given Ehud Barak's offers of August 2000, this is absurd, but most Westerners don't realize this.

The connection between today’s situation and the War of independence is, for me, a major revelation of the last 22 months. This is why I personally see the current violence as a threat to the very existence of the State of Israel.

It looks like a lot of other Israelis feel the same way. Hence the massive change in Israeli public opinion since September 2000.

The right-wingers must be feeling quite smug, because they said this all along. Well, maybe Oslo wasn’t the right agreement, maybe we should have done things differently, but I believe we have a moral obligation to strive for peace with our neighbors. That hasn’t changed. It will just take longer than we had hoped.

Not “implementable”. Sorry.

I’m going to have to behave myself from now on
Bish gave my blog URL to a very left wing friend of ours. (Hi, M.). Now I’m feeling uncomfortable about saying nasty things about very left wing people.

It gets worse. He says he told her it was a left wing blog. I think he’s pulling my leg, though.

M! Read no further! It’s for your own good!

Friday, July 26, 2002

Shabbat Shalom
Silflay Hraka has been using his smellination* to define different blogs
Not a Fish got the smell of figs and sun dried sheets. Mmmm. I can smell it myself.

Big mouth here, couldn't keep things exotic. I just had to go and tell him I use a dryer.

*That's "smell imagination". Get it?
According to Ynet updates(Hebrew link)
It was just 7 tanks and some bulldozers that went into Gaza City to demolish some buildings that were being used for the manufacture of Kassam missiles. I was wondering why there was nothing else about it.
More proof of Israel's evil intentions
Israel treats sick Palestinian children and even helps send them abroad for treatment.
We went into Gaza City!
So busy with other stuff, didn't notice the headline!
Here's an English language link about the targeting of top Israeli officials by Fatah group.
It was interesting to see the way this was broadcast on Hizbullah TV. When they read out the names of those targeted from the manifesto, they changed the names of the officials very slightly, I think unintentionlly, making them them sound more Arabic. Tzahi Hanegbi for instance became Ishak Hingbi, Limor Livnat became Livnant, Avi Malka became Milka.
Zion Blog is telling me not to be naive
"this cease fire talk is complete

It is just a lie spread to try to hurt Sharon."

Sorry. Of course this is the media making a big issue of a non-issue, as usual. I don't think for a minute that there was actually going to be a ceasefire and we missed out! It was so obvious to me I didn't think to point it out.

Oh, and thank you, Zion Blog, for linking to the Uri Dan article about "The targeting of Hamas's bin Laden". I can't stand Uri Dan so I didn't bother reading it before. But I went into it from your blog. I hate to admit it but it's very good and to the point.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Why the weird clothes?
Stephen Den Beste wonders why the fashion bigwigs go to the trouble of designing and showing wayout clothes that no one will ever buy or wear. I read or saw on TV or something or other, that these companies' biggest money maker is perfume. The fashion shows and the glitzy models and all the hype is designed to give the company a glamorous, classy image so ordinary people will spend the money on the perfume. it's just this enormous advertising campaign. It must work or they'd go under.

I really like what he's saying about the Hamas. Stephen Den Beste, that is.
US aid for combatting terror in Israel
Says Fred Lapides "what is of interest: much more money given to Israel to combat terror than given as help to Palestinians."
About Syria
"'Jewish Jordan' Tamir Goodman signs with Maccabi Tel Aviv"
What did we miss?
Everyone’s saying that Israel botched a ceasefire when we killed mass murderer Salah Shehadeh along with innocent Palestinians. They’re saying the Tanzim and the Hamas were about to announce a unilateral ceasefire. Ehud Ya’ari, top Israeli expert on Arab affairs, said yesterday, on Israel’s TV channel two news, that this is not true. And Palestinian sources told Maariv that talks between the Tanzim and Hamas had yet to come close to an agreement to cease suicide bombing attacks against Israelis”.

It seems there was something happening with the Tanzim, however. Akiva Eldar in Haaretz today tells us that “On Monday night at 10 P.M., the West Bank Fatah Secretary General Hussein a-Sheikh approved the final draft of a Tanzim declaration of an unconditional, unilateral cease-fire, with no demands on Israel. This time, the cease-fire would include no further attacks on settlers. All that would remain of the intifada would be the military campaign against Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories and the diplomatic campaign against Israeli citizens wherever they may be”. I don’t know. I always thought a ceasefire was when you ceased fire. Not when you ceased war crimes (targetting non-combatants).

Tanzim activists told Yediot Aharonot that the wording of their declaration would have been "We call on all the Palestinian political organizations and movements to put an immediate end to these attacks [against innocent men, women and children], and to do so without hesitation and with no preconditions".

Eldar adds that ”The secretary hoped that in the morning, Hamas in Gaza would add its signature to the declaration.”

It seems that the inclusion of Hamas in the ceasefire is pure wishful thinking, though, thought up by European do-gooders.
But their good intentions don’t change the fact that Hamas opposes Israel's right to exist and has been carrying out suicide bombings since 1993 interim peace accords which it rejected. […] "Leave its occupation of us, leave our people," (Sheik Ahmed) Yassin said, when asked what Israel had to do for Hamas to halt attacks. "Leave our villages and lands."” (23 July) Given that the Hamas is talking about the occupation of the whole of “Palestine” from the Jordan to the sea, for Hamas to give us a ceasefire, we have to leave the country. Israel Insider says today that “Israeli officials quickly dismissed Hamas's seriousness about declaring a cease-fire, and described Yassin's declarations as Palestinian propaganda. Israel would not be able to meet the Hamas "conditions" for their participation in a cease-fire, the officials said.”

Ehud Ya’ari and Akiva Eldar are both talking about a British diplomat who has been running round the West bank trying to organize the ceasefire. Eldar says: “The Western diplomat has been involved in quite a few initiatives for a cease-fire and has been burned by both sides. He says that this time it isn't merely a matter of a cease-fire, but a profound political change in the young Palestinian leadership. "They're sick and tired of being forced to rebuild Palestinian credibility over and over. They want full transparency in everything, including political contacts, and they want to put everything on the table”.

"The Tanzim has reached the conclusion that if they don't make the change, the Hamas will raise the flag. They have also understood the political and moral damage the suicide bombings have created around them. They regard reducing the violence as a means for achieving strategic goals. The cease-fire was meant to allow them to present their public with a new leadership and a clear direction."” Thus the British diplomat.

I don’t know what “the Hamas will raise the flag” means.

On the other hand, both Israel TV channels one and two reported this evening that a Fatah group called “The Return Battalions” is calling for the assassinations of a long list of Israeli officials and high ranking IDF officers. (Hebrew link)

And what about those official negotiations with the PA we’d almost forgotten about? Well, Shimon Peres had been talking to Saeb Arekat, PA chief negotiator (and chief spreader of the “Jenin Massacre” fabrication, definitely a reliable partner for making deals) and with Abdel Razek Yehiyeh, the Palestinian interior minister. This was their offer:
“The Palestinians want Israel to begin withdrawing from Palestinian areas, returning to positions it held before the outbreak of violence on September 28, 2000. It should also lift closures and curfews.
Palestinian forces under Mr Yehiyeh would fill the vacuum in exchange for an Israeli guarantee not to target them.
If the withdrawal takes place … the Palestinians were ready to resume security co-ordination with Israel, confiscate illegal weapons and make arrests.
In exchange, the Palestinian Authority wants Israel to free prisoners arrested during the conflict, halt attacks on targets in the occupied territories and end the assassination campaign against wanted militants.”
(July 23)
So what the PA is demanding is a return to the situation of September 2000. What they will give in return is a promise to do what they were supposed to be doing in September 2000 – keeping the peace. Considering their behavior in September 2000 and ever since, hardly a serious offer.

By the way, according to this poll, that Fred Lapides sent me, the great majority of Israelis see the Shehadeh killing as the right move.
Article favorable to targeted killings by Israel
In LA Times.
Tal G
about discussion in Israel following the killing of Shehade along with neighbors.
I said yesterday that that’s what some pro-Palestinians want us to do. This is probably not quite accurate. You already know I have a slight tendency to exaggerate. I think the more informed of them don’t really want us to actually evaporate. What they want, if I understand correctly, is a bi-national state. I strongly suspect that this will cause us, in effect, to evaporate. It won’t be in such a sterile fashion as “evaporation”, though, if you get my drift.

The idea of a bi-national state would be very nice in a perfect world, with no anti-Semitism, no Holocaust and democracy-loving, peaceful Arabs. It’s just not implementable (my speller says there’s no such word, but that’s what I want to say) in this neighborhood right now.

My basic belief is that some sort of confederation would be in order, including Israel, Palestine and Jordan, initially. Unfortunately, at this time in history this is no more than science fiction. I doubt I’ll see it in my lifetime.
Security room update
The elected house committee has put up a notice saying that the security room on our floor has to be emptied by the 31st July, by order of the Municipality. Maybe our neighbors will read this. Maybe they will actually move their stuff out of the said Security room.

What Was Your PastLife?
I think I must be doing these things wrong.
More of the same
According to the Times of India the CIA is working on a plan to train "Palestinians in controlling violence". Been there, done that. Last time, they took the training and used it against us. (Thanks Fred, I just don't get round to The Times of India these days).
About Arabs disdain of globalisation
In a Haaretz article I missed (this and the above and the below sent by Fred Lapides. Do you think I should be giving him a cut of my profits?).

A passage that made me smile: "In Israel, many thought that once we brought up the idea of a `new Middle East,' and proposed the idea of economic and technological progress to the Arab world, the whole region would embrace us," says Prof. Dina Porat, head of Tel Aviv University's Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism. "In reality, the Arab world actually views this idea as a threat." How naive we were.
Recent proposals
"Some Israeli analysts, however, say the airstrike, other recent military successes against Hamas and the reoccupation itself have helped restore Palestinian respect for Israeli power. That, they argue, could evoke more conciliatory and creative Palestinian approaches that may spur the diplomatic process forward".

I don't think we're quite there yet. According to the article, what Abdel Razek Yehiye (PA interior minister) is suggesting is just a return to the situation before September 2000. This is not good enough.

Peres says withdrawal in order for voting to take place in which Arafat will be neutralized -- I'll believe it when I see it.

We're told about discussions between former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon and Sari Nusseiba - neither have any official or popular power (I think Ami Ayalon is popular, but I doubt if he can gather a large following at the moment for negotiations).

And this is interesting: "(Salam) Fayed (new PA finance minister) proposes a 100-day plan for thorough reform of P.A. financial practices. To create absolute transparency, he is proposing that all Palestinian funding go through just one bank, and that he sign all checks personally." This guy is regarded by the US as the new wunderkind.
Split Personality
I have exchanged a few more e-mails with Maryam Hand (I can't work the archives. If you want to read my former postings on this, just scroll down the page). They have been very nice e-mails. But somehow these e-mails have exhausted me more than a month’s intense blogging.

This blog is not a discussion. You don’t like what you read, you go read something else. I reckon all three of my non-family-member readers are basically pro-Israel.

The exchange with Maryam brought me back down to Earth. I was forced to face a fact, which although isn’t news to me, I have been repressing – most pro-Palestinian Westerners are decent, well-meaning people (even if they’ve got their facts a bit mixed up). I know quite a lot of them, for goodness sake. And I’ve been avoiding them like the plague.

These are insecure times. I need to be around people who see things as I do. I feel safer this way. Pro-Palestinians terrify me. I’m terrified they will succeed. The funny thing is that I believe that if they could see what I can see, they would be terrified too.

Most of them really believe that the Palestinians will make do with the territories, and that if they get their little state all hostilities and violence will cease. I can’t blame them. I believed this too, until I was force fed with evidence to the contrary.

But not all pro-Palestinians are benign. The really scary ones are the ones that think that Israel should just go away. We’ve stolen Arab land and we’ve got to go. Evaporate. That’s probably why they make us out to be wicked. It makes their argument so moral, us being the ultimate evil.

Take a look what this woman has to say. She’s no lady, she’s a linguist (Oh, no! not linguists again. What is it with these people?). I had been reading her article and jotting down lots of witty comments. It really tired me out. I finally packed it in and pushed it out of my mind.

Coming back to it, I see that everything I wrote is just petty. The problem is not with the details, it’s with the basic assumption. This woman sees Israel’s intentions and actions as inherently evil. This, funnily enough, doesn’t prevent her from living and working in Israel. She is a professor at Tel Aviv and Utrecht Universities (Fred Lapides, who supplied me with this latest manifestation of this woman’s political prowess also supplied me with an e-mail, which is a Tel Aviv University address).

When I read Maryam Hand’s article, I intuitively sensed a receptive ear that I could write to. With regard to this woman – well, I see no point in writing to her. She’s nothing but a poisonous witch.

Delving deeper, I found her home page, generously supplied by Tel Aviv University (and my tax money?). And what do I see here? “Thesis Supervisor, Prof. N. Chomsky”. Aha! So there you have it. I knew it! It’s a plot! He’s brainwashed them all. Here you will find some chapters in this woman’s book, due out Sept. 2002. And here’s a whole load of her articles. I haven’t read them, although they all look just as horrible. I’ve had enough of her.

Give me the Maryam Hands of this world. God save us all from the Tanya Reinharts.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Indymedia Israel is horrified
"Member of Knesset Mossi Raz, from the 'left-wing' opposition party Meretz, is currently serving as a reserve duty military officer in the occupied Palestinian territories..."
On "Hypocrisy and double standards"
Go see what Gil has to say.

She's back!
And she's got something to say about my pita! Well, we like it like that. So there!
Tu B'av

Today is the Jewish holiday of love.

The Guardian twisting the truth, as usual.
Haaretz has a more balanced version.
Hi Dad. My internet's back as you can see.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Changing views of Palestinians?
Akiva Eldar in Haaretz writes about Sari Nusseiba and Ziyad Abu Zayad being the first notable Palestinians who are prepared to consider a change of the Palestinian position on “the status of Jewish holy sites, specifically the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif), and the right of return of the refugees to the State of Israel”. This is all very well. But these are very marginal Palestinian voices. I often feel that Eldar is swept away by his wishful thinking and is not really in touch with what is actually happening in Palestinian society. This can be less than helpful for the Arab affairs expert of a respected newspaper like Haaretz, if he wants to give a realistic and balanced picture of what’s going on over there. Maybe he doesn’t. I shouldn’t be surprised. It quite fits in with Haaretz’s lack of understanding of Israeli society, as well.

Meanwhile, Isabel Kersher in the Jerusalem Report checks out the chances of Arafat being out of the picture anytime soon (not marvellous). This is a very informative article, about how unpopular Arafat’s getting among Palestinians (and why they still won’t be able to kick him out).

My favorite passage: “Many Palestinians also accuse Arafat of being out of touch with reality. One source reports that the PA head spent over two hours at a recent cabinet meeting discussing the India-Pakistan crisis, to the astonishment of his ministers, as if he were living in Scandinavia, and not in Ramallah with Israeli tanks surrounding his headquarters. Whether the details are true or not, the fact that Palestinians now talk to the press this way is telling in itself.”
I love it! Aren’t there any dementia-inducing drugs to hurry things along a bit?
Ayatollah Rafsanjani warns that Iran may strike at US heartland
This Iranian opposition publication says that “Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told the hard line "Jomhoori Eslami" (Islamic Republic) newspaper, which belongs to Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'I … that "The Islamic Republic must get ready for confrontation against the enemy’s attack by answering its offensive right in its heartland"” and that “Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani termed as "impudent and insolent" President Bush’s 12 July statement in which he openly expressed support for Iranian "elected officials" and reformers”. (My emphasis).

Just thought you'd like to know.
I have received a very nice e-mail from the lady who wrote that unfortunate article I discussed, yesterday. I'm quite ashamed that I suspected her of manipulation. This is obviously not the case.
Among other things she wrote: "I wrote my article several months ago, (although it was only published last week,) during the occupation of Jenin and shortly after own own country was shocked by the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I wrote from my heart as I grappled with national news as well as the information I was receiving from the peace activist group Gush Shalom in Israel. The information I was receiving about Jenin was more than I could bear. It broke my heart. It also broke my heart to hear of the suicide bombing at the Bar Mitzvah when that occurred.

[...] Although I was raised as a Catholic and now follow a sufi path, I married a Jewish man and am raising my 4 children Jewish. My older two children have made their Bar and Bat Mitzvah. I live in a community that is highly polarized about the conflict in Israel. My children have to deal with having a Muslim mother and a Jewish father so I have had to stretch myself to be able to see both perspectives in order to help them make sense of the widely disparate points of view they have been exposed to. What I see is that there are two histories. There is the history from the perspective of the Jewish people and there is also the history from the perspective of the Palestinian people. Same time period but different history. I can certainly understand your situation and the perspective from which you write..."

Fair enough. I don’t need everyone to hold my view. But it’s nice for someone who holds another view to be able to listen to my side of things.

I am Snoopy

Which Peanuts Character Are You Quiz

This is a load of garbage. Everything written here is completely untrue, and Bish can testify to that. I think this is a plot to infiltrate my computer. I bet Bin Laden's behind it. Maybe it's the Hamas. That's it. It's revenge for Shahada.

Update: I initially used a four letter word instead of "garbage", but I have been told off by an older and wiser family member. Please forget you ever saw a four letter word on this posting, that is, if you had the good fortune to read it while the four letter word was still on it.

Monday, July 22, 2002

95 percent of Saudis supported bin Laden's cause
Hey, Fred Lapides. What’s up? Missed you (my mail box was suddenly empty).
Gil about inner politics in Israel in view of the elections next year:
“I voted Avoda last elections and I'm quite certain I won't vote the same this time, that party is ruined, the current leader Israel's defense minister Ben Eliezer is not PM quality. I also dislike the other "wanna be's" in the Avoda: Avrum Burg and Haim Ramon. As for the Likud: Sharon is good for now but I'm not sure I want him to lead Israel for another 4 years. Bibi Netanyahu - A big NO!”

Spooky. He’s reading my mind.

Bish has sent me proof
That Islam is the true religion. All I can say to that is, there is no God besides Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger. (Oops. Does that make me a Moslem? I think I have to say it out loud and in Arabic. Phew!)
I don’t know about all these negotiations with the Palestinians. I really don’t.
My gut feeling says “No to negotiating with the Palestinians!”
That is, unless they are negotiations about surrender terms (I know, I’m fantasizing again). They can send emissaries to request relaxation of curfews and other alleviations. But no more than that. Negotiations about surrender terms would allow for extreme generosity on our part . The ensuing dictated peace agreement would lead to the establishment of an independent, democratic Palestinian state, on the basis of Barak’s offers in the camp David summit of August 2000. But this would only be possible after the Palestinians have admitted defeat.

Given the Arabs aversion to calling a spade a spade, we wouldn’t actually call it “surrender” and “defeat”. But the Palestinians would understand that that’s what it is.

I'm dreaming, you say? Yes I am. Unrealistic, you say? Well, that should be their problem, not ours. They could have had Camp David for free. Now they should have to pay for it.

And if my dream doesn’t become a reality anytime soon? Maybe we’ll just have to get used to the idea of lasting it out.

And in the meantime?
In the meantime, a fence. A fence, tenacity and resilience.

Oh, that reminds me of that memory game we used to play when we were kids. We could make up our own war version.
“I went to war and I took with me a fence.”
“I went to war and I took with me a fence and tenacity.”
“I went to war and I took with me a fence, tenacity and a nuke.”
Continue at your leisure, kids.
Maryam Hand thinks Israeli leaders are the same as Hitler (but she loves everyone else)
The Ville links to this rather naive looking article by someone called Maryam Hand.

She says: “We are failing to care for the earth and for the majority of the world’s people. There are global consequences for this failure that even the most unconscious person can see. Daily, I struggle to cleave to the deeper underlying reality of love and peace in a world of almost incomprehensible suffering.

What is most painful to me at the moment is the United States’ role in supporting Israel in its attempted annihilation of the Palestinian people. What has happened to the moral fabric of our society that we fought to stop Hitler and his attempted annihilation of Jews but we would then fund and support Israeli leaders who would do the very same thing to Palestinians?

[…] Now, most of the time, I experience a deep “centeredness,” a love and peace within my heart and a desire to help others to heal their own hearts and find these qualities within themselves.”

The Ville is “flabbergasted” by this, understandably.

I have attempted to answer her in "her own language", in a way I hope she won’t regard as hate mail. I even hope she’ll manage to read it to the end without it spoiling her inner peace and aggravating her. Otherwise there’s no point writing to her at all, is there? My good intentions will probably backfire. I’ve written some amazingly peaceful letters in my time, and have managed to evoke such venom and hatred from people who believe themselves to be full of peace and love. What the hell, it’s worth a try.

On the other hand, at the risk of sounding dreadfully racist, given Ms. Hand’s Arab sounding name (Maryam), the whole article could very well be a particularly subtle manipulation, aimed at well meaning spiritual people.

So here goes:
An Olive Branch
Your words show you to be a very sensitive person, with deep feelings of personal responsibility for the world and its future. Because you seem to have so much understanding and care, I know you will be able to read this with an open heart.

I hope you don’t mind if I try to show you another way of seeing Israel.

Israel is not attempting to annihilate the Palestinian people. I know this for a fact because I am Israeli. You might find this hard to accept, but there is nothing most ordinary Israelis yearn for more than peace with the Palestinian people and our other Arab neighbors.

Towards this end we were prepared to take a great risk. We were prepared to forgive Arafat and his Fatah brethren. This might seem strange to you, even ludicrous, but if you look at it through our eyes, you might be able to see it as we do. For many years, the professed aim of Arafat, Fatah and the PLO was the destruction of the State of Israel. They killed many, many innocent Israeli civilians in vicious, merciless terrorist attacks over the years. These attacks began years before the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel occupied what was then Jordanian and Egyptian territory. We found forgiveness in our hearts for them (and this was very difficult, especially for the families of the deceased, you can imagine). Not only did we forgive them, we also invited them to come and live with us here so that together we could lead our two peoples to peace, eventually establishing a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.

We were so happy that peace was finally coming. We watched proudly as the Palestinians went about building the infrastructure of their brand new state. We tried to help, where we could. We felt like an older sibling watching our young sister finding her way in the world.

But very soon, those opposing peace among Palestinians (mainly the Hamas and other Moslem groups) began to act violently against it. These people began blowing themselves up amongst innocent Israelis, many of them women and children, in Israel’s main cities and towns.

Arafat had promised to fight this, but initially did nothing. It took the murder of Israeli peacemaker Prime Minister Yitshak Rabin for him to start to take action, but it was already too late. And even then he didn’t do enough. Israel eventually had no choice but to halt her side of the peace process and use safety measures, such as checkpoints and closures, to stop the murderers from coming freely into Israeli population centers.

There were also many Israelis who opposed the peace process from the outset. The suicide murders served to strengthen their claims that the Palestinians couldn’t be trusted. In Israeli society, being a democracy with freedom of speech, there is a small, but loud minority who are opposed to sharing this land with the Palestinians for religious reasons. A number of the most radical of these people have sometimes been known to treat their Palestinian neighbors with cruelty. These people do not represent the majority of Israelis, even now that things have become so awful, and life has become so frightening for every Israeli, wherever he or she lives, and whatever his or her beliefs are.

I am the mother of two young daughters. In school my daughters are taught to honor all others, including Arabs and Palestinians. They often write and sing about peace. Yitzhak Rabin’s legacy of peace is taught and commemorated extensively. Even now, with all their fears, the children at my daughters’ school still make peace flags, and draw doves of peace.

I was saddened to discover that this was not the case in Palestinian society. They have not been teaching their children to honor Jews or Israelis. Palestinian children have not been encouraged to wish and pray for peace with the Jews of Israel.

Our leaders are not wicked dictators. We elected them in a free democratic process. We did that because we felt, and still do, that the current Palestinian suicide mass murders, no longer perpetrated only by religious fanatics, but by Arafat’s own Fatah people, threatens our very existence.

When we feel we can trust the Palestinians again, we will elect leaders who will again try to make peace with them, as we have done before.

You seem to have such a capacity for love. I wish you could find some small amount of love for us Israelis. We are not bad people, as you seem to believe. Neither are our leaders. We just want a safe home to share with our neighbors. Wouldn’t you?

For the record
I was not in panic about the bread shortage! Yeah, right. No, really. I was just getting ready for a long haul. OK, this wasn't very likely, I agree.

I'm all ready for the Iraqi missiles, too. Or I will be when those pesky neighbors get their stuff out of the security room!!!!
Moving speech by Mark Halpern posted by on Dawson's Speak. It's about war and western civilization.
Bread Tomorrow
Bread dispute has been solved. I'll spare you the details. I'll be off to bed now. To sleep, perhaps to dream, preferably about some nice, fresh, sweet smelling bread. Homemade pita will have to wait.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

UK Sunday Times have an interesting story about Israel planning to attack Syria soon.
Unfortunately, they seem to think I should pay them money on a regular basis in order for me to read this particular story. As I have no intention of doing that, I have to trust Israeli sources who have read the story, with or without paying. What the story apparently says is that Israel has threatened to attack military targets in Syria the next time Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia in southern Lebanon, strikes inside its territory. they say the IDF is planning a massive bombing from the air, the destruction of a whole Syrian regiment, including 100 tanks, followed immediately by an artillery attack.
Skip this if you don’t want to make pita
(I personally find reading recipes dead boring. If you feel the same way, just skip this).

Don Lovelady (isn't that a romantic name?) wants me to elaborate on how to make pita. Wants me to put my money were my mouth is, as it were, or should I say my pita were my…OK, OK, I’m getting lost here. Never mind. Anyway, you have to understand it's not your regular bread here. You need some tasty stuff to mop up with it. Like, hummous, tehina, labane, you know. We often eat it with red lentil soup. It’s pretty dry on its own.

So we’ve got those two cups of flour, ¾ cup warm water, and some salt. I can’t remember how much salt I put in. About a third of a teaspoon, I think. Put all that in a bowl and mix it up with your fingers until it’s dough (taste it to make sure it’s salty enough). Then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let it stand for half an hour. By the way, you can use self-raising flour, if you like. I don’t think it’s as nice, but then you get that pita that opens up in the middles and you can put things in. What we’re making here is more like Bedouin pita, completely flat.

So after it’s rested you cut off little bits and make little balls. The smaller the balls, the smaller the pita, obviously. The Bedouin make these enormous ones. In Israel it’s called Iraqi pita. I can’t do that because my upside-down frying pan isn’t big enough. The Bedouin have these big rounded… I’m not sure what to call them. They’re like really big upside-down woks. Anyway, you have to flatten the balls, really flat. Really thin. The Bedouin women do this in their hands by sort of throwing from one hand to the other. I can’t do that, either. We just flatten them with a rolling pin. That’s the girls’ job.

I now heat up the upside down frying pan on the stovetop and when it’s hot I put on the first pita. I turn it over, occasionally, and finally take it off when it’s gets sort of light brown-yellowish. It often has brown spots. I play with the heat of the cooker so it doesn’t burn. The baking takes some practice. It mightn’t be marvelous the first time. You just have to keep trying till you get the hang of it. You don’t want it too dark, because it’ll be like a rock.

Now to keep the finished pita warm while I do the others, I put them inside kitchen paper, inside a sheet of aluminum, folded up like a sort of envelope.

The most important thing is to eat it immediately. It doesn’t keep for very long. It has to be very fresh. I usually start the baking when all the rest of the meal is ready.

I’ll give you my mother-in-law’s recipe for red lentil soup, sometime. It’s really simple and good.

There, now, you’ve got me. If you try to make the pita and you don’t like it you probably won’t come into my blog anymore.

By the way, don’t expect any more recipes. I can only cook about three things. Are those sighs of relief I hear?
There's no politician like a drunk one
according to UK Telegraph editorial.
Re bread
My pal Merton Wolfman says:
"$ price of wheat up to $3.5 from $3
Shekel down by about 20%
You cannot be expecting bread to be baked at a loss. Only in USSR, and we
know what happened there."

I'm not expecting anything, Mert, just stating a fact. I was talking about political sensitivity. Unlike some other states round this way, hungry people get the vote in Israel. Politicians reckon they've gotta keep 'em happy!
Actually, I totally agree with you.
Tal G. brings us the Ze’ev Schiff article about CFR doing a research for US State Dept. The aim: how to bring about a Palestinian State according to the scheme outlined by Pres. Bush. The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University refused to take part. This shows how serious this research is.

Get this: “The Palestinian position as expressed in the study totally ignores the last 22 months. They act as if they defeated Israel in war and are now dictating terms for an agreement.”

“There is not a word about the 580 Israeli dead and more than 1,500 Palestinian dead. Just as it's impossible to discuss protecting the American rear without a mention of the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon and the lessons learned from those attacks, it's impossible to discuss security arrangements between Israel and the Palestinians without dealing with the current conflict.”
Wanna bet?

"The State Department can waste the American taxpayer's money. Israel has to regard the latest Palestinian demands, coming as they do while the IDF is inside Palestinian cities, as either chutzpah or a joke."
I don't think Israel has to regard Palestinian demands at all. The Palestinians will have to learn to behave themselves first.

Oh, and Dr. Yossi Beilin's in the article, too. Lucky us.
No bread today
I’ve seen every strike possible in this crazy country, but this is a first. The flourmills are demanding the bread prices be raised. This is obviously very sensitive, given unemployment and poverty levels. Anyway, they've stopped supplying flour to the bakeries. Today things were getting a bit tight in our area.

I’ve bought some bread (it's not very fresh, I'm afraid, but it'll do) and pita. But I’m not worried. I’ve got flour to make pita myself. This is a favorite pastime for the girls and me. It’s really good. Two cups of flour, ¾ cup warm water, and a pinch of salt. That’s all you need for the most delicious pita. I bake it on the stovetop on an upside down frying pan. The girls take turns making the pita circles with the rolling pin.
Starhawk linked to this National Review article about effects of the Middle East wars on U.S. campuses and the hard time Jewish students are having.

Fred Lapides sent me this article in the Weekly Standard about the sort of stuff written in Moslem newspapers printed in the US.

Stefan Sharkansky linked to me and to Fred. Thanks Stefan.

The man has no shame
Dr. Yossi Beilin again. On the radio again. Telling us off again. This time it’s about the immorality of relocating family members of suicide mass-murderers who have proved connections to the suicide mass-murderers’ crimes. I sat there, all on my own, in my little office, at work, steam coming out of my ears, fire coming out of my nose (your regular dragon lady, that’s me) shouting at him and cursing him out loud, repeatedly.

That showed him!

Luckily, no one came to see me while I was at it.

Train ride
I promised the girls I’d finally take them on that long awaited train ride, this summer. We never seem to get round to it. Too hot and sweaty to even think about it, never mind actually organizing it. Now I’m not sure if it’s safe. This is not another excuse, I swear. Well…

How about, when Saddam launches some missiles at us, we launch some at his pals the Palestinians? Nikita’s link.
Oy Vey!
I was just going to tell you about Dawson Speak's list of the eight times Palestinians said no to peace. Scrolling down, I noticed he's made "Not A Fish" his site of the week.


Oy, the pressure! Complete and utter hysteria setting in! I'm now officially announcing that I've got writer's block for the rest of the week. So no one need bother check if I've written anything. And you can make some other (more suitable) site your homepage, Dad. I'll now go and hide under my bed in embarrassment until my face goes back to it's usual color. Or till one of the girls comes to look for me. I don't think they'll notice, though. They've got their cousin here. They hardly noticed I came home from work.

By the way, about that shop in Haifa. Bish bought me some fossilized fish and a slither of crystal in a strange little old curiosity shop in Haifa a few years ago. Is that the one?
Gil's given his answer to "why"
(they don't want a fence) gleefully anounces that Israel's in shock.
Well, I'm not in shock. I'm just tired. Some of us have to work on a Sunday, you know.
Palestinians killed a suspected collaborator while he stood trial.

Interesting Nusseiba stuff saying he spied for Iraq during the Gulf War.

(Both from Fred Lapides).
Things change
I would have ridiculed this in 1999.

Bish is obviously into maps. Here's another one.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Ah, a reader!
Nelson Ascher e-mailed me and wrote:

"I live in Paris and the pro-Palestinian "manif" passed just
below my window. (By the way, I took hundreds of pictures of
it). It is pretty easy to recognize a well organized event,
and one has to concede that what the allies of the
Palestinians did here and in the rest of Europe during
Defensive Shield was quite well organized. That obviously
shows a kind of strength, but also an unexpected kind of
weakness: in other words, there was nothing spontaneous in
it. You can do it once, but each time you repeat it, if the
cause in question is not actually so "hot" and popular after
all, you run the risk of attracting less and less people.
Besides, here in France, most of those who were backing the
Palestinians had, immediately afterwards, to mobilize their
people against Le Pen. Even for the French a third wave of
mobilization would be pretty hard to organize if you take two
other factors in consideration: the world cup, and summer
vacations (with people far from schools, universities etc.).
Then, there is this curious phenomenon: the first time Israel
does something, there is a huge outcry; the second time, only
some protests that keep shrinking. You will see that with the
deportation of the bombers' families: it will begin as a huge
scandal and rapidly become a fact of life. (Unfortunately,
this works for the other side too: suicide bombings, for the
rest of the world, have become trivial). Now, about the Jenin
affair: I don't think the trouble really was the fact that
the European press, politicians etc. have been lied to. They
could, after all, blame the Palestinians or even Israel (as
they have of course been doing) for not allowing them in to
check the facts. Had they been a little more cautious, they
would have gotten away with it. The problem is that they
were, so to say, so trigger-happy to shoot/blame the Jews
that their bias became all too evident. And the much more
prudent behaviour of the American press helped underline the
hysteria of their reaction. The press (specially the British
the behavour of which was far worse than that of the French
newspapers) either believed its own lies or overplayed its
hand. The result of its lack of professionalism, both as a
decent press and as a truly Machiavellic propaganda machine,
was to give their game away. And thus, a kind of low profile
is in the order of the day, at least for the time being. In a
way, the "Jenin massacre" happened to be a gift to Israel's
counter-propaganda efforts, and I hope your government will
be clever enough to use it, answering Palestinian allegations
with "there you come with one more Jenin massacre again", or
using labels like Mr Saeb "3.000 dead" Erekat."

USS Clueless
"It's been standard Arab propaganda to take any accusation made against the Palestinians or any other Arab and reflect it against Israel."
This is very unnerving
I mean, all those people, and no one noticed for years and years. Makes you think again about consulting the doctor about that bad knee, doesn't it?

But I must say, for the record, that I personally know three English doctors who haven't killed anyone on purpose. And I'm not saying this just because I'm related to them.

Got the link from Daimnation!
This is so sweet
Nina, a 9 year old from Cincinnati explains how she feels about Israel.

Janice ("where to buy Israeli things") sent me this. Thank you Janice.

She also sent Nikita a lovely site about Tel Aviv architecture.
Hi. I'm Back.
Mitzpe was lovely, as usual.

The town was full of mourning notices for Keren Kashani, killed in Immanuel. Apparently her sister lives in Mitzpe Ramon.

Sari Nusseiba and his university (again).
Here is another donation to the ongoing discussion on the closure of Nusseiba’s university offices – right or wrong. You’ll have to remember that I’ve been in Mitzpe Ramon since Thursday, with no TV, radio, internet or fresh newspapers (my choice – these things are available there, we just choose not to have them). This article was in the Thursday Yediot Aharonot that I took with me. For all I know a translation of this has already been posted somewhere and everyone’s been discussing it all weekend.

“The University that was, in fact, an opposition
By Guy Bechor”
(this is also someone who knows what he’s talking about).

“It is absurd to present an institute that challenged Yasser Arafat as his official representative.

This week, the Internal Security Ministry publicized documents seized during the entrance into the offices of the management of Al Quds University in East Jerusalem, as proof that the offices were, in effect, “a representative of the Palestinian Authority inside Israel”. Included in the documents was, for instance, a letter of the Palestinians “Preventative Security”, from 1998, requesting the president of the university, Sari Nusseiba, to include in the university studies a course for criminal investigation and legal medicine for people from the said PPSS. On the basis of these documents Minister Landau judged the university and justified it’s closure, after having entered the offices.

The public accepted the allegation … as a …fact. But the truth is completely different, and I can bear witness to that because I know the Al Quds University (that was established in 1991 by unifying separate colleges) and most of its deans. On the contrary, since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1993, Al Quds university has been subject to more friction and conflicts with the PA and it’s heads than any other Palestinian university.

Arafat often regards Sari Nusseiba with suspicion (just as he regarded the late Faisal Husseini). In both cases, the main reason is the suspects’ family ancestry. The Fatah movement, lead by Arafat, was established in 1959 by members of the Palestinian lower middle class partly as an opposition to the Palestinian aristocratic families – Nusseiba, Nashashibi, Haldi, Husseini and others like them – who brought the 1948 calamity upon their people. Arafat is, therefore, not one to allow the new generation of the old elite to take over the Palestinian leadership. Moreover, fearing the talks these elitists were holding with Israeli representatives in Washington, following the Madrid Summit, and fearing that this group would regain seniority, Arafat hurriedly made progress with the Oslo process.

“The Committee of Higher Education”, an indoctrinal branch of the PA, never hid its wish to control everything taught in the Al Quds University, and there was also a struggle over hegemony: the private colleges that had merged into the university were not happy to accept a centralistic takeover of the university from above. Furthermore, the university’s law faculty became a main point of friction with the PA. Headed by the faculty’s dean, Ali Hashan, an expert on constitutional law, this faculty was concerning itself with a desirable Palestinian constitution, with questions of proper administration, the neutralization of the judicial system or Palestinian civil rights, subjects that angered the heads of the PA. This faculty was the anchor of a future Palestinian civil society, made possible by its immunity, because of its geographical proximity to Israel, and before the Intifada its heads spoke out against the militarization Arafat brought with him from abroad. On the other hand, the student organization was ruled by representatives of the Islamic Jihad, mainly Hamas people, who weren’t overly fond of the PA, either. This way or that, relations eventually became so bad that most of the Palestinian leadership boycotted the university, and cut its funds.

I’m not saying that Al Quds University didn’t identify with the PA all these years as a living symbol of Palestinian interests. It was, and is, part of Palestinian society, even though it kept open channels with the Israeli academia. In any case, it’s absurd to present the one establishment that challenged the PA and Arafat as their official representative. It’s a pity that this absurdity was translated into unnecessary operative steps.”

So what’s going on here? Is it moves by people who are against any sort of settlement with the Palestinians, ever, (and I suspect that Minister Uzi Landau is such a person) putting spokes in the wheels of any possible opposition to Arafat, therefore making the Bush reform plan impossible to implement? Or is it, as has been suggested, an effort to make Nusseiba seem less of a “collaborator” to ordinary Palestinians and thus making him a more realistic candidate to take over Palestinian leadership? Is there real, concrete intelligence about hostile activities that were going on in the university that had to be stopped, and we can’t be told of so as not to harm the sources? Or shouldn’t we rule out plain foolishness as a reason?

I’ve got it!
It took the peace of the desert, this weekend, along with Douglas Davis’ delightful commentary on Arafat in this week’s Spectator (well, mainly Douglas Davis’ delightful commentary, be honest, Imshin) for me to realize.

We’ve all been wondering about it. No one seems to have come up with a satisfactory explanation. For what? For the thundering silence of the press (mainly the European press) and European leaders over the current Israeli takeover of PA ruled cities in the West Bank during “Determined Path”. Not a word. Not even a peep. A lot of us wondered if it was because of the Bush speech. But the takeover began over a week before the speech. And besides, many European newspapers had made a point of ridiculing Bush and his speech. Bish suggested Arafat had just gone too far killing too many Israeli civilians. But there were more massacres before “Defensive Shield” with many more fatalities, than after. Anyway, no one could care less about the Israeli dead.

Something has changed, something obvious and simple and particularly shameful for those who are a part of it. There it was, deliciously staring me in the face through Douglas Davis’ words.

He made fools of them. He made them look completely and utterly stupid and inept with the “Jenin Massacre” lie. No one likes being shown up like that. You can murder and rob and pillage someone else, but if you make me look like an idiot in public, well, that’s another story. “Hell hath no fury…” and all that.

They’ve finally (!!!) come to the conclusion that Arafat can’t be trusted. They’re afraid he’s going to show them up again for the incompetent, unreliable journalists (and statesmen) that they are, and they can’t take the chance. If he and his main spokesmen lied so glibly, so shamelessly, about the “Jenin Massacre”, who’s to say they’re not lying about everything else?

Here are some of the highlights of Douglas Davis’ article:
“I wanted to believe Arafat when he painted a picture of Palestinian and Israeli children growing up in peace; but then I remembered the late King Hussein of Jordan, Arafat’s best friend at the time, publicly branding him a duplicitous liar. And I remembered a Syrian colleague telling me he had overestimated the intelligence of Israelis: ‘Do you really think you can negotiate with a mafia boss?’ he asked incredulously.

[…] On the road to becoming Mister Palestine and Great Survivor, he brought death and destruction on a vast scale. He provoked two civil wars (in Jordan and Lebanon). He generated chaos in Israel. And ultimately he produced tragedy rather than statehood for his own people.

[…] The human tragedy of the violence can never be quantified, but Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip can measure the material consequences in a single set of statistics: when Arafat and the Palestinian Authority were installed after the Oslo Accords, the average annual income of Palestinians was 40 per cent that of their Israeli neighbours; today, it is just 5 per cent.

[…] Of course there was no massacre and no cover-up. If the European politicians and journalists had given the matter two minutes’ thought, they would have grasped the point even before they sped to the scene. Israel’s civilian-soldiers in Jenin, like those in any other Israeli military operation, cover the waterfront of political opinion, and no doubt include a share of journalists and jurists, doctors and dustmen, university professors and human-rights activists, each one carrying a mobile phone. A massacre is as unthinkable as a cover-up is unimaginable.

The head of Israel’s military planning branch, Brigadier-General Eival Giladi, dismissed the ‘massacre’ charges with contempt. Unlike other armies which might have been tempted to use artillery, he said, Israel refrained, even though it cost the lives of 23 soldiers. Nor was the restraint a consequence of outside pressure or public opinion, ‘but because of Israel’s norms and standards. The Israel Defense Forces will never put themselves in the position of doing something that Israeli society will not accept.’

[…] Given Israeli goodwill and the largesse of the international donor community — about £6 billion over the past eight years — the Palestinians should today be looking to a bright economic future in their shiny new state. Instead, Arafat’s stewardship has left them looking for humanitarian assistance.

[…] (The Bush prescription) is a bitter pill, too, for the Europeans, who must finally dispel their post-colonial guilt and learn to treat the Palestinians as sentient adults. If they had demanded decent standards of governance from Arafat at the outset, their money would have been well spent and much of the subsequent trauma might have been avoided.”

Another delightful Spectator story
is Bruce Anderson’s, which explains “why, how and when the West will topple Saddam.”

I still don’t get it
I’ve written about this before, I know but it’s still bugging me. It’s the Palestinian objection to the security fence, again.

They want a state, right? The state will have an internationally recognized border, right? The state will also have internationally recognized passports, right? Palestinians wanting to work in a neighboring state will have to use those internationally recognized passports to cross that internationally recognized border in order to work in that neighboring state, right? So what’s there problem with the security fence? Is it so important for them to be able to infiltrate the neighboring state, illegally? Why is that, exactly?

Please, please, explain this to me, someone, anyone. I ‘m losing sleep over this here. Well, not really, I’m just saying that to emphasize my point.

A lot of people in Israel are grasping at the security fence concept, and maybe at unilateral withdrawal, as a magical solution to all our problems. I don’t think that’s very realistic, (especially unilateral withdrawal which could prove to be calamitous) although I haven’t anything better to offer, right now. As a matter of fact, I don’t think this is the time to be offering solutions at all.

But the Palestinian objection is particularly suspect, in my mind. They don’t want to be fenced in, they say. Well, what the hell DO they want? It looks like they want whatever will make Israel suffer, and they’re not bothering to look any further. Well, as far as I’m concerned, they can go and drink the sea in Gaza, as Arafat himself would say.