why not a fish
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Comments left by readers yesterday seem to have disappeared. I'm sorry. I think I'm going to have to change to another company.
Monday, September 09, 2002
I'm feeling increasingly uncomfortable about my post saying Arabs could be losing their jobs as a result of three Jerusalem Arabs being arrested for planning to poison Jews in a cafe. I'm sorry I wrote it. It was a horrible thing to say. It was my anger and fear speaking.
A sick world
I sometimes don’t tell you about places I’d just love to tell you about, because I don’t want to turn them into targets.
Stupid stupid stupid
Three Jerusalem Arabs have been arrested for planning to poison Israelis in a Jerusalem cafe.
OK, so they hate us and they want us dead. So they plot to poison us. Makes sense. But what about the harm they’re doing their own people? I think many Arabs in Israel will be able to thank these three for being responsible for their losing their jobs or not being able to find jobs. Just as people are demanding security guards they’ll now start demanding no Arabs in the kitchen. It’s not like people are falling over backwards to employ them as it is.
So where is the outrage of the Arab Israeli “street” at this terrible, irreparable damage to their already shaky position in Israeli society? Where is the outcry of the Israeli Arab leaders? Nothing. Deafening silence.
In case this wasn't clear: It's not racism. It's fear. I pray not a single Arab loses his or her job in a restaurant or cafe as a result of this, but what are restaurant owners to do if people start being afraid of being poisoned in their establishments? Business is not exactly flourishing.
Little Green Footballs has been posting photos of 9/11.
Those photos of people jumping. It’s still hard to grasp. I guess it always will be.
According to this Al-Ahram feature about housing in Egypt, there was an earthquake in Egypt last week. I don't remember hearing about this. Did anyone read about it and happen to notice how high it was on the Richter scale and where the center of it was? There mustn't have been any deaths or we surely would have heard about it.
Update: Fred Lapides has it: "4.4 on Richter for Egypt 2002/08/24". The center seems to be in Giza near Cairo. That must be why they were talking about it in an article on housing. Houses must have collapsed. I don't suppose it could damage the pyramids. They must have withstood one or two earthquakes in their day, don't you think? It's mind-boggling to think of them collapsing.
Sunday, September 08, 2002
An aquarium built into a Jaguar?
I’m so lucky I’m Not a Fish.
Thank you, Fred Lapides, for helping me reach that deep understanding. He actually sent me an even more convincing photo, but too harsh for this vegetarian to post.
Who murdered the Israeli peace camp and Palestinian hopes for a free society?
It’s a rhetorical question, silly.
Here is an article by Robert Fulford on the subject of the disappearance of nearly all of the Israeli left. It discusses the disillusionment of prominent Israeli lefties such as Jerusalem Report’s Hirsch Goodman, controversial “new historian” Benny Morris, writer A.B. Yehoshua, and others.
And here’s an article by Daniel Polisar that explains, in great detail, exactly how Arafat took control of the formerly pluralistic Palestinian society in the territories, stifled all diversity and opposition, and destroyed the judicial system. Polisar, who was a member of an Israeli organization that was accredited by the Palestinian Authority as an official elections observer during the Palestinian elections of January 1996, maintains that Arafat’s leadership is not the result of free and equal elections and is inimical to peace in the region and to Palestinians’ aspirations for freedom.
”The radicals were sent packing”
James K. Glassman thinks common sense won the day in Johannesburg (in WSJ). It seems the “Green Gestapo” was more loud than influential. As the Talmud says (in the G’mara, Baba Metziya p”h) “Istra balagina kish kish karya.” Translation from Aramaic: A little coin in an (empty) jug cries kish kish (makes a lot of noise).
But he complains that steps in the right direction (promoting development in poor countries and refraining from environmental decisions impracticable in poor countries) were too minor and watered down by corporate sucking up to the Greens.
A self-critical moral dialogue among Palestinians is required.
Yossi Klein Halevi in the NYTimes: “On this Rosh Hashana, a time of self-examination, I confess that my capacity as an Israeli for self-criticism has been exhausted.
Few Palestinians seem prepared even now to examine their own share of responsibility for the conflict. Instead, most remain barricaded in a self-righteous understanding of history, apportioning all innocence to themselves and all blame to us. Perhaps their inability to acknowledge the historical complexity of this conflict is understandable: The Palestinians, after all, were its losers. Yet that failure led them to commit their greatest blunder in a history of missed opportunities. By declaring war two years ago against an Israeli government that was as far left as any in history, they turned Israelis like me from supporters of Ehud Barak into supporters of Ariel Sharon.
What the first intifada was for Israelis, this intifada should be for Palestinians: a precious moment of self-examination. The Oslo process failed because of an asymmetry of self-criticism: Only one side came to the realization that this is a conflict between two legitimate national movements. The time has come for Palestinians to partition their sense of historical justice. They need to admit that much of their suffering, especially now, has been self-inflicted. And they need to confront the repeated moral failures of their leaders, from supporting Nazi Germany to backing Saddam Hussein.”
So true. Read more.
”Hag”log: More food II. This one’s for Lawrence
At the end of Yesterday’s “Hag” lunch at my sister’s we got a going home present. One of my sister’s neighbors bought them halla (plaited white bread for Shabbat) in Bnei Brak (ultra orthodox city near Tel Aviv) for the Hag. To remind you – they have a lot of children in Bnei Brak (usually double digit, but who’s counting?) and Shabbat is holier than Yom Kippur, so this was one very large, very delicious halla. We got a big chunk. I’ve just had some of it for breakfast. Mmmmmm. Heavenly.
My in-laws say that the halla is so popular that the neighbor regularly brings about 25 loafs every Shabbat to give to all the neighbors. He sounds like a nice guy.
The Wolf and the Sheep: Follow-up (my version)
Sometimes the wolf is in sheep's clothing and the sheep is mistaken for a wolf.
Saturday, September 07, 2002
The Wolf and The Sheep. A Fable
A WOLF, sorely wounded and bitten by dogs, lay sick and maimed in his lair. Being in want of food, he called to a Sheep who was passing, and asked him to fetch some water from a stream flowing close beside him. "For," he said, "if you will bring me drink, I will find means to provide myself with meat." "Yes," said the Sheep, "if I should bring you the draught, you would doubtless make me provide the meat also."
Aesop (Townsend version)
Moral (L'Estrange version):
It is a charitable and a Christian office to relieve the poor and the distressed; but this duty does not extend to sturdy beggars, that while they are receiving alms with one hand, are ready to beat out a man's brains with the other.
“Hag”log: More food.
My Dad’s contribution to today’s lunch at my sister’s (I get the feeling she’s not fussy about Our Sis so I’m dropping it until I can think of anything better) was a killer apple pie. No really, the best. And guess what? He bought it! This was the best apple pie I’ve ever tasted. I kid you not. My Dad is developing a considerable reputation as a vendee. This would be trivial anywhere else in the world but developing this talent of his requires my Dad to regularly risk his life in central Netanya.
My folks are tough cookies. They refuse to be intimidated by the threat of exploding people and continue to roam Netanya freely and enjoy its coffee shops and restaurants, guarded or not, regardless. You’d think the Hamas and the Fatah were fighting for an Island off New Zealand. You’d think the not yet constructed security fence was not only already upright but it was the Great Wall of China. Moreover, they have no intentions of letting Saddam change their daily itinerary, either, when he commences with his noxious party piece. No scuttling into security rooms for them. No fleeing the city for haven in rural hideaways. Their living room is good enough, thank you very much.
Good for them. Way to go.
Actually, this is quite ridiculous. It’s not as if I’ve changed anything in my life. Why should they, just because there have been more terrorist attacks in Netanya than in Tel Aviv of late? The last mass-event we went to was a very large peace rally on the 4th November 1995, known the world over as the night Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. Actually I didn’t even go to that, just Bish and our eldest daughter, who was just four years old at the time. We make an exception once a year when we return to Rabin Square to see the fireworks on the eve of Independence Day. We even went this year, in the height of the terrorist attacks. Us and fourteen others.
“I am not saying that Muslims should give up on their religion, what I am saying is that we should learn all we can about other religions and cultures. This assimilation of foreign ideas and customs is what once made the Islamic civilization so great.”
Bargarz has a link to an amazingly moderate article in the Saudi ArabNews.
“Hag”log: New beginnings.
Some streams of Buddhism put a lot of emphasis on living life mindfully. They suggest that we can live life more fully if everything we do is done with our full attention, as if we were doing it for the first time. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we really could do everything with a fresh mind? If everything was always as exciting as when we’d first experienced it?
One way to relive that excitement is through the experience of others. Hence our fascination with babies taking their first steps, uttering their first words. The most fascinating of all is watching grownups from other worlds experiencing our reality for the first time.
I can never get enough of the stories told by those extremely brave youngsters who choose to leave the protected lives of the ultra-religious Jews and venture into the unknown – the harsh world of secular Israel, with none of the necessary skills, no money and no family support (Quite the opposite – they are often persecuted by their communities).
This young man has just taken the plunge.
“He has never walked into a store and bought himself an article of clothing, or anything else. Now, he has fearlessly gone on a shopping spree at the new central bus station and bought himself a few shirts and pairs of pants.
The most exciting purchase of all was sandals. The air that flowed between his toes excited him, made him giddy. "It's like in biblical times," he smiles.
And at his hosts' home, he passed another mental hurdle when a large dog sniffed at him. "The first time, I was shaking, but the owner of the house told me that he doesn't bite, and after a while, I found the courage to call him over to me and I even pet him. Now I can say that even though they raised me to be afraid of dogs, I like animals."”
Breakfast: Leftovers from my mother-in-law’s “Hag” dinner. Artichoke hearts in lemon sauce and cold vegetarian leek cutlets (all the better to ward off the enemies - my brother-in-law quipped last night that maybe we should send the paratroopers out armed with them).
Rosh Hashana for secular Israelis is mainly about family gatherings and food. By the end of “The Hagim” (the High holidays) most people are fed up of both. And in need of a diet. Israelis traditionally postpone everything till “after The Hagim”, including diets. I know this is hard to believe, but some Israelis, not necessarily the secular ones, actually take loans to pay for lavish “Hag” meals. I doubt this is the case this year, though. Times are tough.
“Hag”log: The basics in context.
Lynn B. reflects on the High Holidays, while explaining them briefly to the uninitiated, in view of the first anniversary of 9/11.
"Hag"log: Talking about Iraqi Jews…
I’ve just come back from our Erev Rosh Hashana dinner. The brachot (blessings) for the New Year were made according to the Iraqi tradition. According to the Iraqis, apparently, you bless over the dates (for a sweet year?), the pomegranates (may our credit before God be as plentiful as their seeds), the leeks (something to do with something bad befalling our enemies), the spinach (enemies again) and the cow-peas (back to the plentiful credit) before you get to the apple and honey (also for a sweet year), and according to the Turkish Jews (or is it the Bukharans?) you start with the apple and honey and then have the dates etc. I don’t know anything about all that. We always just did apples and honey.
A taste of the richness and diversity of Israeli society.
Friday, September 06, 2002
And if we're on a nostalgic note
Diane of Gotham is looking into the once notable Iraqi Jewry. Correction: Still notable, but now most of them contribute their abilities to Israel. Iraq's loss is our gain.
Eli Amir and Sami Michael have written some wonderful books about Iraqi Jews, such as "Farewell, Baghdad" (by Eli Amir) and the sad "Victoria" (by Sami Michael). I can't link - I checked once and couldn't find them in English on the net, although I believe they have been translated. Here's an old posting of mine on the subject.
A special gift for Rosh Hashana
Ilana from Inner Balance, bless her, has found a gem on archive.org. It’s a 10-minute movie of Damascus and Jerusalem made in 1936.
It’s a little hard to find, because this is an archive with loads of movies. You have to scroll down the titles, organized in alphabetical order until you see “Screen Traveler: Damascus and Jerusalem 1936”. It’s well worth the effort.
Kol hakavod to Ilana for finding it. Someone commented on her blog (she posted it on the her Hebrew blog), that she must have the eyes of an eagle to have seen it.
Rosh Hashana – a Time for New Beginnings*
May we all be blessed with health and peace in the year to come.
This is the Sahne, my childhood idea of heaven.
*Header stolen from an e-card my parents sent me.
Update on Johannesburg
Andrew Kenny believes “The green Gestapo” is doing more harm to the environment than good. Read why in this week’s UK Spectator.
“It so happened that, before going to Ubuntu Village, I had attended a small meeting of a free-market group, the Sustainable Development Network, which has the heretical view that blacks ought to be as rich as whites, that capitalism and science will improve the wellbeing of people, plants and animals, and, most shocking of all, that this is a good thing. There I heard three small farmers, one from the Philippines, one from India and one from KwaZulu Natal (a Zulu called Buthelezi). They all told the same story. Their crops of cotton and corn had been devastated by the boll-worm and the cornborer. They used gallons of pesticide to try to contain them. This cost a lot of money, poisoned the soil, killed benevolent insects, damaged their health and killed one of their workers. Then they tried GM (genetically modified) seeds, designed to combat the pests. It changed their lives. The yields doubled or trebled. They did not have to use pesticides any more, so the soil improved, their health improved and the beneficial insects came back. For the first time, they began to make enough money to improve their standard of living. This was a revelation to me.
So at the main tent of Ubuntu Village, I approached a short man with a moustache at a stall advertising some kind of ‘biotechnology’. I asked him if he dealt at all in Bt crops (the name of the type of GM crop I had heard described earlier). His eyes flickered nervously around the tent, to check if any of the green Gestapo might be listening. I said that I had just heard from poor farmers that Bt crops were wonderful. He relaxed slightly and admitted softly that, yes, his company was promoting this technology that was saving lives, increasing biodiversity, improving the environment and giving the poor a chance to become rich. He looked terribly guilty.”
You can read on here.
Jonah Goldberg explains the merits of war
Jonah Goldberg wrote some things about war that I found hard to read. He cites the rich medical, material and social progress made over history as a result of wars. This may be true, I’m no historian, and I can certainly appreciate that much of Israel’s technological prowess is a result of our wars. But surely not all progress is a result of wars? Surely much progress was made in times of peace? And I fail to see the progress that war brought Afghanistan, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Cambodia, to name but a few.
Goldberg goes on to tell of how the experience of war often enriches the lives of those who take part in it (and survive). Now, I know and accept that little boys will always play at war, but whatever Jonah Goldberg says, and I agree with much of what he says in the article, war is a necessary evil.
This is 21 year-old sergeant Aviad Dotan, IDF tank driver, moshavnik, beloved son.
He fought for the right to be a combat soldier. He was a brave young man. He did what he had to do for his country and yesterday he paid with his life.
War may be justified. War may be unavoidable. But don’t you sit there, safe in your armchair, and try to sell me war as something good.
Thursday, September 05, 2002
Check out the Index of the Munich Massacre BlogBurst.
It's being updated all the time with fresh posts. There are some very interesting and informative articles and also moving personal recollections. BTW, If you didn't catch my BlogBurst post on the massacre, and are too lazy to scroll down, here it is again.
Oh, and guess what? In today's "Best of..." James Taranto has a link to the BlogBurst index.
I take my hat off to the wonderful Judith Weiss of Kesher who organized it all and has obviously been working hard all day (and night).
From a reader:
I´m one of the hidden readers of yours and other Israeli former lefties blogs.
Today I´m very happy cause I got my "OK Aliah", which means I´m going up to Israel in October.
I´ve heard a lot of "are you crazy?!" and "this is not the best time to go". But I don´t care. If not now, when? Should I wait until our nice neighbors give up terror?
Well, I know that Israelis get kinda proud and happy when they hear that Jews around like Israel -- and still make Aliah - even if sometimes you think and say the same "are you crazy?!"
So take this is like a Rosh Hashana message of hope and peace.
And know that Aliah may be not have big rankings these days, but I´m sure it is qualitative.
Definitely not crazy.
Akiva Eldar is as tedious as usual in today’s Haaretz, with one exception. He tells of Abu Mazen’s recent visited to a large Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. He went to explain the facts to the camp’s inhabitants.
“He went on to describe at length the fate awaiting refugees who seek to strike their roots in the state of Israel. "You won't be going back to your home, nor to the neighborhood or the village. The houses, neighborhoods, and villages are all gone. New cities have been built on your lands, and in your houses, Jewish babies have been born. You will join a Palestinian minority in a country where the language of the state is not their language, its culture is not theirs, its flag is not theirs, and the anthem is not theirs. No jobs await you, nor a welcome home."
Abu Mazen said that if that's not enough to to persuade the refugees to give up the honor of carrying a passport bearing a menorah, they should also know there will be no way back. He explained that the choice of one of the options means forgoing the others.
In other words, those who choose to go to Israel will block their own way to the West. Nor will the new state of Palestine be able to accept the tardy.”
Apparently this visit is not a one-off thing. Nabil Sha’ath (in charge of the negotiations on the refugee issue) made a similar visit to a large refugee camp in Jordan.
“I told them they won't find their homes in Sheikh Munes, and that nowadays it's called Ramat Aviv.” (A large part of Tel Aviv University is built on lands that formerly made up the village of Sheikh Munes. Ramat Aviv is an affluent North Tel Aviv neighborhood).
Way to go.
Israel is fully implementing a massive 4 billion shekel development plan in the Arab Israeli sector over a four year period. The Israeli Arabs are treating the plan with suspicion. Another plan is to invest 615 million shekels in Bedouin villages in the north over a five-year period.
Mega attack foiled near Hadera
A mega-terrorist attack was avoided today when police seized a carbomb following a car chase. “The booby-trapped vehicle reportedly contained 600 kilograms (1350 pounds) of explosives hidden in several gas canisters, connected to a battery and a cellular telephone-operated detonation mechanism. A container of metal shrapnel and bolts were also found”. This is reportedly one of the biggest bombs ever discovered.
The following article is part of a blogburst - a simultaneous and cross-linked posting of many blogs on the same theme. This blogburst
commemorates the Munich Olympics Massacre which began in the dawn hour of September 5th, 1972. Go to The Index of the Munich Massacre Blogburst to find links to all the other articles.
At 5:00 AM, exactly 30 years ago, a seminal event in the development of modern terrorism took place. Eight Palestinian terrorists invaded the athletes' housing at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. They killed and took hostage eleven Israeli athletes competing in the Games, demanding the release of 234 imprisoned Arabs and German terrorists. Over the next few tension-filled days, all the hostages and some of the terrorists were killed, mostly due to incompetence and perfidy of the German government. The Olympic Committee made a controversial decision to continue the Games, and has never participated in any memorial for the slain athletes. Eventually almost all the remaining terrorists were hunted down and killed by Israeli agents, directed by then Prime Minister Golda Meir.
Could it have been prevented?
On Monday night, Israeli TV channel one broadcast a documentary about the Munich Massacre. Yarin Kimor, who made the movie, studied the massacre from a few perspectives I wasn’t aware of. It was quite eye opening. The following is a summary of some of the more interesting points he brought up. I don’t know if what he says is as novel as he claims, but most of it was new for me.
I apologize if the Latin spelling of the names is incorrect. The movie only had the names in Hebrew, and not knowing German, it’s hard to determine the correct spelling of German names.
Important note: Yarin Kimor’s documentary is largely critical of the German handling of the massacre, before, during and after the event, although he doesn’t go into the details of the negotiations or the workings of the rescue operation. He also has criticism about the Israeli handling of their side of the affair. When reading this post it should be very clear that the only people who are responsible for the massacre are the perpetrators and those who sent them. This does not mean we shouldn’t look with a critical eye at how the affair was handled on the receiving end.
The main discussion point of the documentary was: Did the Germans receive information about a planned terrorist attack in advance? How about the Israelis, what did they know? Kimor claims that the Germans received information that the terrorist attack was going to happen. He brings as evidence excerpts from the German investigation report on the massacre. According to this report, on the 21st Aug 1972, the Bavarian secret police passed on to Munich Police a warning that a Palestinian commando unit had left Beirut on its way to Munich for a terrorist operation. Manfred Schreiber, Munich Police Chief, was notified but did nothing. On the 24th Aug 1972, Interpol Brussels sent a message to the Bavarian secret police stating the names of two of the terrorists – Badran and Darwis, who were to take part in the operation.
According to a Yediot Aharonot investigation (says Kimor in the movie, but supplies no information about when the story appeared) the East German Shtazi also knew about the attack in advance. Shlomo Levy, an Israeli cameraman was in the East German dormitory at the time of the attack. He says he clearly saw, looking out of the window, one of the terrorists communicating with someone whom he couldn’t see, who could only have been in the same building as Levy himself (the East German building). The terrorist seemed to be receiving information, and made signs with his fingers of six, five and four. Immediately after he saw this, the terrorists demanded that the (West) German snipers be removed from the area. Levy is very sure the terrorist was receiving information from the East German building. Richard Meyer, head of (West) German espionage is very adamant that no espionage service could have known in advance, including the Shtazi.
Ilana Romano, wife of one of the victims, Yossi Romano, tells of the meeting she and Anka Spitzer, another of the widows, had with a man who claimed to be from the Italian Red Brigades. This man, who was very afraid to be meeting them, told them that the Red Brigades had known something about the planned Black September attack a month and a half before it took place. The man said he belonged to a moderate faction in the Red Brigades that decided to leak the information. He was sent to Hamburg to tell the Germans. He told them that there was going to be a terrorist attack in the Olympic Games. From Hamburg the Germans sent him to Munich, where the security services weren’t interested.
Next he went to the Israeli embassy in Germany. The security officer told him to come back the next day, and when he did, the security officer told him he didn’t have to say anything because they already knew.
Victor Cohen, who was the Shin Bet negotiator during the attack, said he would have had to know if there was any such information. On the other hand, Aharon Yariv, head of the Mossad at the time, told a Dutch newspaper in 1976 that he remembered chairing a meeting in the Defense Ministry during which it was said that there were signs that Black September was preparing a big operation due to take place in a few days time at an international happening. This was five days before the attack. The Olympics Games were the main international event at the time. It would have been natural to make the connection. Yohanan Maroz, who was head of the Europe department of the Israeli Foreign Office, says he saw no early warning reports, although anything of the kind should have passed through him. Later, the Israel Kopel report, the result of the Israeli investigation of the massacre, recommended firing two top Shin Bet officials. The report is still confidential and restricted.
If these reports are true, we can point to several different sources that were saying the same thing. Why was nothing done? International terrorism was flourishing at the time, after all. It’s not as if no one had ever heard of such a thing. Never mind the Germans, let’s say they were blinded by their vision of the “Happy Olympics” and a desire to cancel out the shame left by the 1936 Berlin Olympics. But what is the Israeli excuse? Kimor wonders why the Israeli investigation report, the Kopel report, is still confidential if it’s full of modes of operation that failed thirty years ago. I notice he doesn’t wonder why the German investigation report has not been made public, although it’s obviously not perceived as such a closely guarded state secret as the Israeli report is, or else parts of it wouldn’t have been leaked to him.
Another point that came up: When preparing the security layout for the Olympics, Munich police chief, Manfred Schreiber, ordered a catalogue of possible disturbances and disruptions. One of the points in the report was Scenario 21 that predicted exactly what eventually happened. The scenario was thought unrealistic and disregarded. When Georg Zieber, the police psychologist who wrote the scenario, persisted, his employment contract was discontinued. He tells the story himself in the movie. Dr. Georg Wolf, who was Manfred Schreiber’s second in command in the Munich police force at the time, says he has never heard of Scenario 21, although it was reportedly Schreiber himself who decided that the scenario was unrealistic.
As I said before, with regard to the negotiations conducted with the terrorists, Kimor doesn’t go into details. He does however show a document written by Nahum Admoni, later to become head of the Mossad. He didn’t show it up close, but claims it says that Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Dayan, had given an order that the negotiators pretend to be going along with the terrorists demands, as a negotiating ploy. This is the opposite of what Prime Minister Golda Meir stated in public about not giving in to terrorists. Nahum Admoni himself does not remember ever writing such a document. Israeli negotiator Victor Cohen doesn’t react to this directly. He tells about the tactics of a negotiator (I was very taken with him, a very forceful and impressive character) and says that it was not possible to make any headway negotiating with these terrorists.
Much has been said and written about the botched rescue attempt, and it is being covered elsewhere in the BlogBurst. Yarin Kimor tells the story of 17 or 18 German soldiers, who were disguised as air stewards and were on the plane waiting for the terrorists in Fuerstenfeldbruck airfield. These soldiers reportedly deserted their posts 15 minutes before the terrorists and their hostages were due to reach the airfield by helicopter. They failed to notify anyone of their desertion. Kimor says the rumours of the desertion were doing the rounds when he first made a documentary about the massacre, twenty years ago, but he could find no evidence of it at that time.
Now he brings excerpts of the statement given by the soldiers’ commander, Reich, during his interrogation. He gives the reason for the desertion:
1) The soldiers have nowhere to hide.
2) Fear of gunfire from outside of the plane.
3) The gasoline containers of the plane may catch fire.
4) The disguise is imperfect and could lead to their discovery.
The soldiers held a vote. It was unanimous. So 17 or 18 German soldiers were afraid of the two terrorists who were sent to pre-check the plane! German law allowed for them to refuse participating in an operation that could endanger their life. After everything was over, the soldiers were not disciplined in any way.
Thus the hostages were abandoned. According to Kimor, the gunfight that eventually took place was between just five German soldiers and eight armed terrorists. The German soldiers shot an impressive total of 29 bullets. There were 21,000 (unarmed) security officers “securing” the Olympic Games! Were five soldiers and 29 bullets the best the Germans could do?
It’s worth mentioning that the famous Israeli General Staff Commando Unit (“Sayeret Matkal”) had plans for staging a rescue operation of their own. A few months before, they had successfully freed the hostages of the hijacked Sabena plane in Israel. The unit’s commander at the time, Ehud Barak, explains in the movie that they were told to back down, because the Germans would never allow a foreign force to stage such an operation on German land.
The negligence goes on and on. According to the coroner’s report, one of the victims, American-born weightlifter David Berger, died between one hour and one and a half hours after the botched rescue operation was over. He died of smoke inhalation. Kimor says no one had thought to call the fire department.
Just 54 days after the massacre, terrorists hijacked a Lufthansa plane and demanded the release of the three terrorists that survived the rescue operation and were in jail in Germany. The Germans didn’t beat about the bush. All previous brave statements about not giving in to terrorism went out the window. The terrorists were hurriedly released. At the time, the persistent rumors that the Lufthansa hijacking was a sham were regarded as fantastic. But Colonel Wagner, commander of the German Terrorism Combat Unit (this is a direct translation from the Hebrew. I apologize if I’ve translated it incorrectly) says the rumors could very well be true. Commander and co-planner of the Munich Massacre, Abu Daoud, wrote in his book, years later, that the Germans offered them 9 million dollars up front, to stage the hijacking in order to free the terrorists (and rid the Germans of the headache).
It seems the Germans are quite satisfied with the way they conducted the whole affair. Unlike some of the Israelis involved, such as Aharon Yariv, who accepts that Israel was partly responsible for the foul-up. Isn’t that just a typical Jewish thing to do, never letting yourself off easily? Bavarian Interior minister at the time, Bruno Merk, doesn’t display the same disposition for soul-searching. He puts the blame squarely on the Israeli security people.
Dr. Georg Wolf, deputy chief of the Munich police, goes even further. He starts off by blaming the Israelis for refusing to cave in to the terrorists’ demands.
Then he says: “Those responsible were those conducting the wars between Israel and Palestine, the Palestinians, I mean the Arabs.”
The interviewer is then heard saying: “As a host you are responsible for your guests.”
Wolf: “Yes, but as a host I expect my guests not to start a war in my home.”
Interviewer: “The Israelis did not start the war.”
Wolf: “That does not matter.”
In order to give a complete picture, Kimor explains about the Black September organization and commanders Abu Daoud and Ali Hasan Salameh. I see someone else is dealing with this aspect in the BlogBurst, so I won’t get into it here.
Kimor also extensively interviews Professor Gabi Wyman, head of the Communications Faculty in Haifa University. He explains the great success of the massacre from the terrorists’ point of view and the effect it had on the face of terrorism the world over from that day on. Terrorists all over the world realized the strength of such an attack, perfect in timing and location, for getting their message through. Even though the media coverage was not sympathetic to the terrorists, the reporters had to explain the motives of the perpetrators, so that their viewers would understand what was going on. Thus their cause was widely advertised, even among people who regularly wouldn’t be interested. They had taken the whole Olympic games hostage after all, not just the Israeli sportsmen.
And it worked. A good example of this is the fact that in the 1980 Moscow Olympics opening ceremony, Arafat could clearly be seen sitting in the VIP box right next to Brezhniev. It was just eight years and one Olympic games after his subordinates had massacred innocent sportsmen at the very same sporting event.
We’ll never know if the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre of 11 Israeli sportsmen could have been prevented, and if it had been prevented, if they wouldn’t have found some other important world event to do something similar in. But what world event affects so many, and would have had such a powerful effect, worldwide?
We are now one year after terrorists crashed passenger planes into the World Trade Center buildings in New York and into the Pentagon in Washington D.C., killing thousands of innocent people. I put on the radio just now, a day and a half before the beginning of the Jewish New Year. The radio news announcer said that once again the terrorists are making a great effort to perpetrate monumental terrorist attacks on civilians in Israel during the Jewish High Holidays, as they did last Passover.
I’m wondering, rather wistfully, what the world would look like today had the Munich Massacre been prevented and not changed the face of terrorism from that day on. I know it is futile to think about it, what’s done is done, but this seductive thought, instinctively makes my heart jump with false hope and excitement, and simultaneously brings on a dull ache of despair.
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
Look who's back!
Rosh Hashana is early this year. It took me a while to realize that the old friends calling me up out of the blue, were calling to wish me Shana Tova – a good year. In the old days we used to send cards. It was a whole industry. Tables used to spring up on the sidewalk in shopping areas offering hundreds of cards of different sizes (although the even largest ones were quite small, and they were all oblong), tidily organized in little piles. The cards had pictures of happy children, of honey and apples, of flowers, of Moshe Dayan, of the Western wall, you name it, all with a generous sprinkling of glitter.
This quaint tradition has more or less disappeared. Stationery shops still sell “Shanot Tovot” as the cards are called, but the tables are gone, as are the naive pictures on the cards. These days most of the “Shanot Tovot” you get by snail mail are sent by commercial enterprises. E-card “Shanot Tovot” are very popular though. The problem is there’s always a few good ones going round, and then you get them again and again about twenty times, until you’re sick of it.
Tuesday, September 03, 2002
Purity of arms
Although I disagree with the assertion that we are "a nation torn by ever-intensifying differences", Haim Gouri says some things about the Israeli Air Force's inherent humanity, that show how wickedly distorted are the claims that Israel is no better than the Nazis.
Monday, September 02, 2002
Yesterday's google queen.
The Palestinian police force has been using stolen Israeli cars,
confiscated from car thieves.
Two Israeli Arabs from East Jerusalem tried to recruit four Israeli girls, two of them soldiers and two before army service, to spy for the Palestinian Preventative Security in 1999. According to Israeli radio, the girls were apparently unaware that they were being recruited and no information was passed on by them. But according to the Jerusalem Post, a 1999 document addressed to Jibril Rajoub seized by the IDF indicates that they found one female Israeli soldier “willing to be recruited to work for the apparatus.” And went on to say that “She is a promising subject, given that she uses drugs and needs substances and drugs”. Ynet has more information (in Hebrew).
Fred Lapides says Arabia.com has already picked up the story.
Sunday, September 01, 2002
They put on last week’s episode of The Gilmore Girls again this week! Why would they do such a thing? Don’t they realize some people wait all week long to see the next episode, not the same one again? They even had the gall to write “rerun” on the top left corner, so we wouldn’t think it was a mistake or anything. Cruel. There’s no other explanation. They’re torturing me. Hey, maybe it’s a new ploy by the Hamas?
Oh, dear. According to this I deduce that this is the last episode of the season. Maybe they intend to show this episode again and again till the new season starts? I'm OK with that. Better than nothing.
Unbiased academic research?
I was meaning to comment on this, but Tal beat me to it. An Israeli by the name of Teddy Katz was sued for libel by veterans of the Alexandroni Brigade. He had published a controversial M.A. thesis that claimed that the Alexandroni Brigade committed a massacre in the village of Tantura in the1948 War of Independence. Yediot Aharonot discovered that his defence, in the libel suit, was paid for by none other than the Orient House, by way of his good friend, the late Faisal Husseini, who was P.L.O representative in Jerusalem at the time.
Israeli radio station, Reshet Bet, sought Katz’ reaction this morning, but he said he was too busy correcting (the many discrepancies in) his thesis (by demand of Haifa University). Ilan Pappe, his friend and mentor, was only too happy to oblige, though. Always a pleasure to hear his poison.
They also interviewed Yossi Ben Artzi, dean of the Humanities faculty in Haifa University, who sounded like he didn’t care much for Katz or his theory (Aren’t I the mistress of understatement?).
In the eighties, before and during the first Intifada, I felt ashamed and embarrassed by the occupation.
I did reserve duty in the Gaza Strip (pretty unusual for women at the time) and got a good look at Rafah, Han Younes and Gaza City. The result was that I suddenly understood the demographic problem. Round about the same time, I was shocked to see a 12 year-old Palestinian boy washing the floor of a Tel Aviv restaurant at one o’clock at night, and it wasn’t even summer. A young Palestinian construction worker confided in me that his deep ambition was to be a policeman, but that they didn’t have a police force.
My feeling that something had to change intensified during the first Intifada. When the opportunity arose for Palestinian self-rule which was to gradually become (as I saw it) Palestinian sovereignty in the territories, I was all for it.
The feeling was euphoric. No more shame. We were finally doing the right thing. At last we would be able to be on equal footing with the people we share this country with. It felt like the Messiah had come.
* * * * * *
This time around I have no feelings of shame or embarrassment. I have compassion for the Palestinians’ suffering. I’m sorry about innocent Palestinians being killed. I feel for their families. I wish it could be different, but I feel no guilt.
They had their chance and messed up big-time. The blame is theirs, not ours.
Peace Education II
Fred has sent me another article about dialogue.
Dr. Gershon Baskin writes about “IPCRI - the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information - a joint Israeli-Palestinian research center founded 14 years ago, established six years ago a new department for Peace Education. This department has developed programs that are now taught in secondary schools throughout Israel and Palestine. In this new school year these programs will be taught in more than 60 schools on both sides. There will be more than 400 Israeli and Palestinian teachers participating in the programs with more than 4,500 students involved””.
Dr. Baskin doesn’t give us any information about the percentage of Jews versus Palestinians involved in these programs. Neither does he tell us what percentage of the Palestinians involved are Israeli citizens and what percentage are Palestinians from the territories. I think these are pertinent questions, don’t you?
In the buildup at the beginning of the article, before he reaches the education programs, he makes a common mistake.
“The Israeli public,” He says, “is continuing to show willingness to arrive at an agreement with the Palestinians on the key issues of the conflict. Even today, the majority of Israelis support the establishment of a Palestinian State next to Israel. The majority of Israelis even support dividing Jerusalem and sharing it as a capital of two states. A majority of Israelis are in favor of removing most of the settlements. Almost a majority of Israelis support the June 4, 1967 as the basis for the borders dividing Israel and Palestine”. Very true. He goes on to say that “It seems that the Israeli public understands and supports what is and what will be the "price of peace"”. Yes, most of us do.
So what seems peculiar to him is the fact that, “At the same time, the Israeli public continues to support the devastating policies of the Israeli Government as it continues to destroy the Palestinian Authority. … the belief in Israel … no one to make peace with … believe that the Palestinians are committed to destroying Israel … These slogans of the past have returned and are voiced by politicians and public officials from all streams of political life in Israel. They are widely accepted by the Israeli public without any real scrutiny or questioning…” OK. That’s enough. I’m so fed up of this patronizing attitude. Of course, Dr. Baskin is an educator. Educators are often patronizing, aren’t they?
No real scrutiny or questioning? Is that a fact?
As I see it, we are continually bombarded with scrutiny and questioning by the media. Why just today, on Israeli Reshet Bet radio station, I heard a scathing critique of the Israeli Channel 2 special report, broadcast Friday, that Gil wrote about, which actually brought the leftist point of view via Ilana Dayan. Experts Ehud Yaari and Ronny Daniel, were amazingly patient with her, and didn’t say a word in reaction to the utter tripe she was spurting. Yediot Aharonot, the most popular and widely read Israeli newspaper tends to give more space to leftist views. Most of their permanent weekend columnists are left wing. Maariv also offers a serious podium for left-wing views. I need not mention Haaretz. Only a negligible amount of Israelis read it. It doesn’t have much influence on ordinary people’s opinions.
As I see it, Israelis are force-fed with quite a lethal daily dose of scrutiny and questioning. If we still persist in our views it is because they are consistent with our comprehension of reality, and not because we’re being brainwashed by the establishment.
New pro-Israel blog. Contributions by the best. Go see.
My girls were actually glad to be going back to school. That alone is a good enough reason for two months of summer vacation!
The high school teachers and most of the middle school teachers are striking. No one’s quite sure why, even the teachers themselves, apparently. Anyway, their strike doesn’t affect us this year, and I'm sure my nephews are delighted.
Saturday, August 31, 2002
Excerpts from Nahum Barne’a, Yediot Aharonot, Shabbat Supplement, 8/30/02:
“Haled put the plate of knafeh on the table, to put something sweet into the bitter, and said simply: Our little brother, Issa, did the terrorist attack in Rishon Letzion, in the pedestrian mall.
Two new immigrants were killed in the terrorist attack in the pedestrian mall on 23rd May this year.(it was actually on the 22nd, Barne’a doesn’t mention that one of those killed was a 16 year-old) The Tanzim, the military wing of Fatah took responsibility. Issa, the murderer, was 17 when he died, a high school student.
“Ahmad El-Mugrabi from the Tanzim enlisted my brother,” said Haled. “El-Mugrabi has a brother, Ali, who studied at the same school as our brother. He filled his head. That’s how he enlisted the girl who committed suicide in Kiryat Yovel (the supermarket in Jerusalem), as well.
“At the beginning of the Intifada our father called us, the three boys, for a talk. You’re not part of this story, he said”.
“I was closest to Issa”, says Haleed (Haled’s brother). “He used to tell me everything. He even told me that he had begun to smoke, a big secret at his age. But he didn’t tell me about the enlistment.
"On the day of the terrorist attack he threw a party at a friend’s house. With music. Then he told Mom, I’m going to play football. At 11 that night we started to look for him. Three days later I turn on the television, here, at work and I see a photo of my brother and message of the Al-Aqsa Brigades. My brother had suddenly become a Shaheed.
“He’s not a human being, this El-Mugrabi. Why did he send my brother to commit suicide and not his own? If I had seen him in the street I would have done something bad to him. The brothers of the girl from Kiryat Yovel looked for him for a long time. They wanted to kill him”.
But El-Mugrabi is not to be found. He’s in an Israeli prison.
“Last week,” Haleed said, “They came to us from the army. They said if you work with us we won’t do anything to you. I said I’m not working with anyone. Then you’ll sleep in the street like a dog, the soldier said”.
“Then the army came a second time,” Haled said. “You’ve got half an hour to take out your things, they said. My father is a lawyer. He asked if they had a warrant. They said, you’ve already wasted five minutes of your time. Yallah, terrorists. Get out.
“After the soldiers had laid the explosives, they all stood for a souvenir photograph, like a soccer team. Then came the explosion. We had a palace, a 375 square meter house and every thing is gone. We didn’t have time to take out half of the things”.
“The Palestinian Authority came”, Said Haleed, the younger brother. “They said we’ll give you a monthly allowance of a thousand shekels. My Mom said I don’t want it. Is that the price of my son’s life? They took him to die at an age they don’t take boys to war”.
“If I had known what he was going to do, I would have cut off both his feet”, says Haled, the older one.
“I watch Arafat on TV”, says Haleed, ”And he’s shouting Shaheed, Shaheed, Shaheed. And I say to him collaborator, collaborator, collaborator. Ahmed Yassin is better than him. At least, Yassin doesn’t lie. Doesn’t talk of peace and make war”.
Abu Zooz says, “When the IDF entered Bethlehem a lot of people were pleased. Beforehand, every five people here, every ten people, would take weapons and become their own government. They would come into the restaurant and say: Give us all the money. Or they would phone me up and say: Give us 40 thousand dollars, or else we will kill you.
"But now you’re coming in, going out, and coming in, and going out. 90% of people in Bethlehem say it’s better that Israel stay”.
“It’s true”, says Haleed.
“When Arafat first came I said he’s bringing bad luck with him,” said Abu Zooz. “No good will come of him”.
“And now my father cries”, says Haled, “he cries all the time. They won’t give us back the body. They say they’ve buried him in Beer Sheva, but they won’t tell us anything”.
“We have a question,” Haleed says. “Are we allowed to rebuild our house? And if we do, will they destroy it again?”
Why is the house important? I ask.
“We can’t bring back my brother to life. At least we can get the house back. I am just thinking about the house all the time. I have decided to save enough every day for one brick, till we have enough for a whole house.”
The next morning I told their story to Muhammad Dahlan, Arafat’s close aide. …
“…I know the Palestinian people. You’re right, they are angry with Arafat. They say to me that he %!$#ed everything up. I tell them not to be heroes with me. We’ll come to him. I will attack him and you will just say Dahlan is right.
"And then they come to Arafat, and Arafat kisses them, and they start to tell him how great he is””.
Comment about comments.
I’ve found that answering comments can be time consuming so I’ve decided to keep my reactions to them to a minimum. After all, I get my day in court all day and every day in my regular postings.
Comment about e-mails.
Most of my free time, today, was spent answering an e-mail, and now I’m too tired to blog, which isn’t very fair at all, is it?
So I think what I will have to do in future is publicly answer e-mails that I find interesting enough to spend whole days answering. By that I mean here on the blog. Don't worry, I won't divulge any private info.
I have tried to adapt today's e-mail for posting but it just isn't working so I've dropped it.
Update: This is not intended to discourage commenters or e-mailers.
Friday, August 30, 2002
From my mail box (I’ve seen this before. I think Our Sis sent it to me last time, but I can’t ask her because she’s abroad. Anyway, it’s just as good the second time):
Story With A MORAL
One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway. It just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing.
He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
Now, the Moral of the Story:
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!
Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.
P.S. - The donkey later came back and kicked the #%!$ out of the man that tried to bury him.
This time, a teenage girl.
The Palestinians have executed Rajah Ibrahim, the 18 year-old niece of 35 year-old Ikhlas Khouli, that poor mother of seven they killed last week.
An example of a country that managed to beat terrorism, with international help.
This evening, on Israeli TV channel two news, Ehud Yaari brought the Sri Lankan example of beating suicide terrorism. He explained why the Tamil Tigers gave up their twenty year struggle that had claimed 80,000 lives. When they lost international support, and had funding from abroad blocked, they realized that they had no chance of reaching their political goals. When they saw they had no choice, they signed a peace agreement with the Sri Lanka government.
So what does that mean for us? It means that European support for the Palestinians, both in spirit and in cash, is egging them on. They murder hundreds and the Europeans and the leftist lobbies in the US and in Israel say, “Oh, those poor Palestinians, it’s the Israelis pushing them to despair that forces them to do it, they’re not to blame”. This serves to strengthen them. If this uncritical international (and Israeli) support would cease, and they would be recognized internationally as the murderous menaces they are, they would be forced to accept a peace plan, and keep to it. We know this, this is nothing new. But the Sri Lanka example is proof that this is a feasible idea.
Now is not the time for dialogue
Now is the time for fighting and winning.
But the time for dialogue will come, hopefully. Fred Lapides sent me this, which started made me thinking about the effectiveness of dialogue projects.
I used to think projects like this one could be effective in creating understanding between Palestinians and Israelis. The rationale is right. Just get both sides to meet, talk and listen, getting to know each other and things will look different. But what are they really worth?
I worry that, since the war started, my daughters don’t have the opportunity to meet Arabs. This and the fear of terrorist attacks, open the way for stereotyping and generalizing. Before the war, I could always remind them of M’hammad or Isma’il or someone else, whom we had met on our last trip to Sinai and who had carried them round on their back, helped them climb on to the camel or just laughed with them. Now the memory of these friends grows dim.
Nearly two years ago, my eldest daughter should have participated in a project of meeting school children from Arab Yaffo, first in our school and then in theirs. But the meetings were to take place just a few months after the Arabs of Israel had initiated violent protest demonstrations and during which thirteen were killed. The meetings were cancelled, and the children missed a rare opportunity to meet and get to know each other.
I grew up in Haifa, a mixed city. I had two Arab boys in my class at school. One was my friend. We sat together for two years. I helped him with his English and he helped me with my Arabic. He used to joke that my Arabic writing looked like a six-year-old wrote it. The Arabs from the nearby village waited with me at the same bus stop. At night the two buses going to the village and to my neighborhood were unified and I got to ride through the village on the way home. We often visited Arab villages on scouts trips and school trips, in Israel proper and in the territories, regardless (I wasn’t even aware of the difference, in those days). There was no danger. I remember one trip in the mountains of Judea, walking in the Wadi, and looking up to see tens of school children, in an Arab village schoolyard, looking down at us, waving and smiling. It’s hard to believe it ever happened. We used to hike freely in Judea and Samaria. I well remember trips to Herodion and the Haritun cave, where two Jewish schoolboys, Koby Mandell and Yossi Ishran, who lived in a nearby settlement, were slaughtered, in May 2001. A school trip to these places has been unthinkable for years.
In those days, before the first Intifada, Arabs from the territories worked freely in Israeli cities. When I first moved to Tel Aviv, in my twenties, I got to know quite a lot of them. Bish had worked his way through university as a waiter and knew Arabs from the territories who had worked with him in the restaurant. Arabs from the territories renovated the building we were living in, taught me how to make them the Turkish coffee they liked and had free use of our bathroom. We gave them a kitten when our cat had a litter. Arabs from the territories were very much part of every day life in the city.
The forced separation between Palestinians from the territories and Jews has nothing to do with any racist sentiments or apartheid, which is what they’re trying to pin on us. It’s a direct result of the Palestinians’ violence and nothing else. The principle being that if we can’t trust them not to stab us (that’s how it was during the first Intifada -stabbings in the street) or shoot us or blow us up, then they can’t be in our streets. At first, the younger, single men were prevented from coming, but then older men with families started doing pigu’im (terrorist attacks) and the profile system proved useless.
On one of his trips to Sinai, Bish made friends with the cook at the camp place he was staying at. He was a young student of Islam from near Isma’iliya in Egypt, and the work in Sinai was a summer job. Being the cook, and purposefully sticking to the kitchen, he never actually got to meet any of the many Israelis he fed. This was his choice. But Bish was there on his own and sat with the workers and talked to them for hours. Bish found common grounds especially with the intelligent young cook, the student from Isma’iliya, who had only ever been fed with stereotypes about Jews and Israelis and was amazed by this Israeli who was the complete opposite of everything he had expected an Israeli and a Jew to be, and to top it all, impressively knowledgeable about Arab and Egyptian politics. A few weeks later, Bish returned there with the girls and me, and I was able to witness the relationship that had developed between them. It was obvious to me that the young man felt a deep bond with Bish, and he promised to take his revelations about Jews and Israelis back with him to his university. I often wonder how today’s situation has affected him.
Dialogue projects, such as are suggested in this article have been quite commonplace in Israel for years. Their main disadvantage, the thing that makes them completely ineffective, to my mind, is the fact that they usually bring together people who already believe in compromise, in dialogue, in peace. In short, these projects go to great lengths and spend a lot of money, trying to persuade the already persuaded, to convince the convinced. They don’t seem to reach the people who really need them. The people filled with hate, the people set on killing and destroying.
I don’t know how we can go about educating for dialogue. It’s obvious that the PA has been going to great lengths to educate for hate. The generation that worked in Israel, and knew Israelis, is growing old. The younger generation is made up of people many of whom have never met Israelis besides soldiers in full combat gear, pointing guns at them, and settlers, some of whom are full of hate themselves, and just as incapable of dialogue.
But talking about dialogue,
Fred also pointed out this article by David Newman, chairman of the department of politics and government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in today’s NYTimes. Some people are completely deaf to what’s being shouted loud and clear. This person completely misses the point in his blindness and futile and ridiculous attempt at fair-handedness. In trying to explain why most of Israel’s left moved to the center and to the right he says, “When Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat failed to reach an agreement at Camp David in 2000, any remaining trust between the two sides fell away, terrorism returned to the streets of Israel and outright war to the alleyways and refugee camps of the West Bank.” Bill Clinton, Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat FAILED TO REACH AN AGREEMENT??? How about “Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak offered Yassir Arafat the best offer he’ll ever get if he lives to be a thousand, and he turned it down”?
“…terrorism returned to the streets of Israel and outright war to the alleyways and refugee camps of the West Bank”???? How about “Arafat and the PA declared war on Israel and proceeded with the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of innocent citizens, until Israel was left no choice but to reoccupy most of the areas of Palestinian self-rule”?
From his office in Ben Gurion University he knows for sure that, “Most Israelis were skeptical of the (Oslo) process and needed to be convinced that it was possible to reach an agreement with the people who, until yesterday, hated them and refused even to recognize their existential legitimacy”. Is that so? Well how do you explain, Mr. Bigshot-Article-in-the-New-York-Times, how come many extremely right wing friends of mine where convinced to vote for Ehud Barak in 1999, following Netanyahu’s unsuccessful premiership and were very hopeful about peace? Was I dreaming? Did it never happen? Were only intelligent, educated, university professors swept up in the optimism? Were intelligent, educated, university professors magically turned into a majority in Israeli society so as to elect Barak into office?
He goes on to blabber that “Few resources were invested in peace education or the creation of a language of peace that would have been meaningful to large sectors of both populations”. Both populations??? How dare he say such a thing? That the Israeli Media spoke of nothing else but the merits of Oslo, completely ignoring the problems - not a mention; that children in Israeli schools sang songs of peace and drew doves and olive branches and pictures of Arabs and Jews holding hands (and still do) – obviously irrelevant; that half the country broke down and cried openly when Yitzhak Rabin was murdered by an opposer of peace and that every year no expense was saved to commemorate his way – what’s that got to do with peace education? Oh, yes, it’s definitely both sides that were lax with regard to peace education.
So now we have the real reason for the mass flight from the leftist peace organizations. They, like Arafat, have become irrelevant. They’ve lost their grasp on reality. If they ever had it in the first place.
Saudi aches and pains
The Saudis just can’t keep Israeli goods out. They’re in a particular predicament about a certain Israeli “medicament” finding its way in, incognito, specifically, Pyroxicam, a drug used to soothe joint and muscle pains. I say, let them ache. I bet you the royal family will get some if they’re aching and paining.
Care of Fred Lapides.
Another good one
Yahoo this time: "dance depicted from fish movement". I'm #3.
Thank you, thank you. I owe it all to my Dad, who taught me to waltz to Johann Strauss' "Viennese Blood", a very fishy piece.
What am I talking about? Must be time for bed.
Hizbullah attacks IDF on Mount Dov on Lebanese border
with anti-tank missiles and mortars, wounding three soldiers.
The land is a national resource and is not the private property of the kibbutzim and the moshavim.
In July I wrote quite extensively about Hakeshet Hademokratit Hamizrahit, which
is a far left movement established by Jews originating from Arab countries. Among other things, I mentioned their involvement in opposing the kibbutzim and moshavim making money by realizing the lands they received from the state for agricultural purposes. Well, yesterday, they won their case.
“The High Court ruled … that the decision by the Israel Lands Administration (ILA) to rezone kibbutz and moshav agricultural land for real estate development was null and void on the grounds that it contradicted the principle of equality.
The court ruled that the share of the revenues, in the form of compensation, that would accrue to the kibbutzim and moshavim as a result of the building - on what is state-owned land - was excessive.
The expanded seven-judge panel, which ruled unanimously, ordered the ILA to review its decision as soon as possible. In the meantime, the court determined, all deals linked to the freeing up of agricultural land for real estate development are to be frozen.”
If you read my posting about Hakeshet Hademokratit Hamizrahit, the movement responsible for submitting the petition to the high court, you know I’m not crazy about them. But I think this High Court ruling is just and I’m happy about it.
Thank you R.T.
R.T. came over today to help us move my computer from what was up till now the study, but is soon to become my younger daughter’s bedroom, into the living room. Our computers are wired in a network so we needed help to move things round. It’s a relief to get to spend my evenings with Bish again. He sits in the living room with his laptop, alternating between the net and the TV, and I have been busy of late, blogging in the study, so we were getting quite lonely. Now that’s fixed. The computer even looks quite nice in the living room. I didn’t think it would, but it does.
Separating the girls rooms has become necessary, because my eldest is beginning to need her space. The only thing is we’re going through all this trouble, rewiring, rearranging furniture, and so on, and our lease on the apartment is up in March. We will probably renew the lease, though, if the landlords don’t get too greedy.
Thursday, August 29, 2002
I'm seventh on google for "horrible fish dead picture".
And me a vegetarian! I tell you, there are some very weird people out there.
Oh, look. Arabic News.com have Francofied British foreign office minister, "Jacque" Straw.
The French will love that. They should have gone all the way and called him Jacques Streaux.
Streaux said "that Britain encourages the Syrian government to work for the sake of peace, and to use its influence with the Lebanese Hizbullah party in order to prevent the escalation of the situation on the Lebanese - Israeli borders". Hah! Good one.
My old pal Fred Lapides thinks Streaux should maybe mention to the Syrians that they "get out of occupied Lebanon".
It looks like the Yaalon interview is the token pro-Israeli article of the current Haaretz weekend magazine (printed version).
The rest of it is full of horrified letters protesting Israel Air Force commander, Dan Halutz' interview of last week; Gideon Levi's stories of dead and amputated Palestinian children; an article trying to figure out why Israel should refuse entry to a group of 52 French "Peace" activists, many of them Muslims, who just wanted to "get to know both sides better", and so on, and so forth. I feel sick.
The most annoying thing about it is what I think is the reason for this dive even further left. For a few weeks now, The radio has been full of happy, smug advertisements that Haaretz is "not what you thought", which gleefully inform listeners that according to the latest TGI survey, exposure to Haaretz has actually gone up! I could scream. (Neither Bish nor I have been able to find a link to this, for some reason, besides this from Maariv, which obviously isn't very objective). Of course, as a result, Haaretz must now feel free to swing right on back as far left as possible, having made an effort to be a wee bit more even handed for a month or two. I can't wait for the letters in response to Yaalon's interview, due next week.
And this time, the children
Another article in the Haaretz series about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among survivors of terrorist attacks. A Jerusalem family tells of life following the Sbarro pigua.
I think I’ll cut it out of the paper and have it framed
and go back and read it every time I have to listen to Dr. Yossi Beilin and other people, stuck in mistaken conceptions, for reassurance that not everyone in this country is a complete and utter idiot.
I’m talking, of course, about Israeli Chief of Staff, Moshe Yaalon’s interview in Haaretz weekend magazine.
Every word is a gem. I tried to choose a sample passage, but they’re all so good I couldn’t decide. Go read it all. I know it’s long, but it’s worth it. Yes, you too, Dad.
By the way, having said that, I notice that quite a lot of the original print version of the interview has been omitted in the translation. At least two whole arguments have disappeared. One points to the mistake many Israelis make in demanding “now” solutions instead of focusing on long term conflict management, and the other one is about some people’s refusal to be parted with “the conception”, the same conception he maintains the Israeli Media had a large part in creating. Now, why on Earth should they cut those particular arguments, I ask.
Judaism's universal identity
Yair Sheleg from Haaretz says that “settlement theology” (as he calls it) is adjusting itself to the seemingly insoluble crisis the settlement movement finds itself in, by promoting the interesting and unusual philosophical ideas of Elijah Benamozegh, a 19th century rabbi of Livorno, Italy.
Follow up on Terminal Patient bill.
Professor Mordechai Ravid, director of the internal medicine ward at Meir Hospital, Kfar Sava, claims, in today’s Haaretz, that the Steinberg committee, appointed by former health minister Shlomo Benizri to legislate guidelines on the medical approach to a dying patient, determined principles that do not add to existing laws, but just complicated matters. To base this claim he complains that the Steinberg committee was made up of dozens of members who were split into four sub-committees. He contrasts this with the committee that dealt with reforms in the health services and headed by Judge Shoshana Netanyahu that consisted of just four members. I’m glad he mentioned this, because now I know why the health services reform was such a mess! The reform was, and remains, extremely unpopular. While the new health system substantially improves the situation of the very poor and the very sick, it seems to me that the great majority of the population pay a great deal more for their health services and receive a great deal less. For instance, I had my first child before the new system was initiated and my second child after. The result was that many of the routine pregnancy checkups that I was entitled to during my first pregnancy through my sick fund, I had to pay for privately, during my second. I was fortunate enough to be able to afford this (just about), but this is surely not the case for most women. Does this not raise the likelihood of babies being born with avoidable deficiencies? What does this mean for the future health of our population?
But the article is not about that. Professor Ravid makes some interesting remarks about the difference, morally, (if any) between active euthanasia or assisted suicide and refraining from giving life support treatment, in accordance with a patient’s wishes. He maintains that the innovative idea of a timing machine that will periodically stop a respirator and allow a doctor to refrain from turning it on again (you may remember my writing about this, a few days ago) is an absurd attempt at forcing religious values on secular patients. This is all very well, but we’re not living in a perfect world and I view this idea as a realistic solution to a political difficulty.
“The main issue the committee should have dealt with” he goes on to say, ”is living wills. It is necessary to establish rules regulating on what terms such a will is valid and how it should be phrased, what restrictions must be taken into consideration in implementing it and most important, for how long it is valid. A healthy person writing a will like this is not equipped to know how he will feel when ill. If an agreed document of principles could be put together on this issue, that would suffice”.
Just pour some more money on them.
Israeli Guy, Gil, has some interesting comments on the Marshall style peace plan being suggested by Stef Wertheimer, Israeli industrialist millionaire. Gil correctly points out, among other things, that the Germans and the Japanese had the decency to surrender before the dough started raining from heaven. Wertheimer apparently doesn't think this is necessary in the Palestinians' case.
A few days ago Shoshana, from The News, Uncensored and I had a discussion about another proposed MidEast Marshall Plan (Or maybe the same one. Shlomo Meital, who did the proposing, in this case, could very well be in cahoots with Wertheimer who, I understand, is busy organizing a powerful following for his plan). Our discussion focussed mainly on the economic state the previous version of a MidEast Marshall Plan (Oslo) left the Palestinians in (and that's before they really plunged themselves into dire economic straits by initiating war with their peace partners).
Update: Some very interesting comments have been posted in reaction to this matter on Gil's page.
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Something I missed before about the Temple Mount possible disaster.
Nadav Shragai says in Haaretz that Jerusalem District archaeologist Gon Zeligman, does not believe the renovations of the "Solomon Stables" are connected to the current problem, but thinks it is the result of faulty construction. The wall is part of shoddy building additions from the 19th century. In this respect his view differs from that of Dr. Eilat Mazar from the Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities. Another possibility cited in Haaretz' printed edition but not in the online translation, suggests that the Waqf works changed the way the (rain?) water trickles into the mountain, causing the bulge.
This photo clearly shows the bulge:
Here is another really good photo and a sketch explaining exactly where the bulge is. Unfortunately the explanations are in Hebrew but it will help you get the picture. The bulge is on the lower right side, denoted by a little black frame with white writing and an arrow pointing at the wall. The nearby mosque with the silver dome is Al-Aqsa (The Golden Dome of the Rock, is not Al-Aqsa, contrary to popular Western belief, but a marking of the place where Muslims believe the prophet Muhammed landed when he flew to Jerusalem on his winged horse, one night). The Western Wall is on the lower left side.
Yet another Update: Tal G. has something better - a very clear aerial photo and a translation from Yediot Aharonot, which gives some different information about when the wall was built than Haaretz. Nice to see everyone agreeing about the facts.
Go read more Temple Mount disaster stuff
Ribbity Frog has been reading the official Palestinian stand on the Temple Mount south wall collapse danger in the Palestinian Authority's official newspaper Al-Ayyam. And he's summarized it specially for us in English. Isn't he a dear?
This could end in a terrible, terrible disaster
I’m very worried about the warnings that the southern wall of the Temple Mount is in very serious danger of collapsing, possibly as a result of renovations that have been going on in "Solomon's Stables" for a few years now, in order to turn the stables into a mosque. According to the Israeli Antiquities Authority, it’s not a matter of if it will collapse, but of when. They say it just won’t hold. The renovations are actually illegal, and have been going on without the required archeological and engineering supervision, for political reasons.
I have this mental image of it all coming down and bringing tens of thousands of Ramadan prayers with it (like the walls of Jericho or the Philistines in the Samson story).
Also scary is why the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust that has defacto control of the Temple Mount, and has been conducting the renovations, is so adamant that everything is all right and refuses to let any experts in to make sure. If someone told me my house was about to fall down, I’d have someone in to check it double quick, even if I thought it was nonsense. The Waqf is insisting that there has been no change in the size of what’s being called a growing "bulge". But how can they know this, when they can only see one side? Not only are they refusing to let experts check their side of the bulge, they are even going so far as to blame Israel for endangering the Temple Mount by encircling it with the army, and with archeological excavations and contend that Israel is actually planning the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
I dislike conspiracy theories, and usually try to refrain from linking to articles about Islam’s inherent evil, and that sort of stuff, which make me feel very uncomfortable. But something very fishy is going on here, which demands attention. It seems very likely, given their extremely suspicious behavior, that the Waqf is busy purposefully doing serious damage to antiquities from biblical times, so as to disprove the Jews’ rights to the area. The claims to this effect are nothing new, but now it looks like it could very well cause a calamity. It's quite logical that the Waqf can’t allow anyone in to witness what they’ve been up too, under the circumstances, even if it will cost thousands of lives. In preparation, they are brainwashing the people, so if it does happen, Israel and the Jews will automatically be blamed. That must have been why they had that big rally there, a few days ago. Besides the cost in lives, in the event of a collapse, which could be horrific, the effect on the masses all over the Muslim world, will probably be unprecedented.
Update: Nadav Shragai says in Haaretz that Jerusalem District archaeologist Gon Zeligman, does not believe the renovations of the "Solomon Stables" are connected to the current problem, but thinks it is the result of faulty construction. The wall is part of shoddy building additions from the 19th century. In this respect his view differs from that of Dr. Eilat Mazar from the Committee for the Prevention of the Destruction of Antiquities. Another possibility cited in Haaretz' printed edition but not in the online translation, suggests that the Waqf works changed the way the (rain?) water trickles into the mountain, causing the bulge.
We went to Lilo and Stitch
Great fun! I thought it was hilarious. My youngest thought it was the saddest movie she’d ever seen and cried her eyes out.
I've been sweating over adding a "comments" option for HOURS. I've finally managed to get it right. All sorts of horrible things were happening on the way. The posts were going all skewy and that wasn't even the worst of it. My heart still hasn't completely recovered! But as they say, all's well that ends well. (Isn't that a silly saying? What about PTSD???)
Now I've got to rush to get the girls and me ready on time for the movie we're going to.
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
“As you are aware, we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
M to 007
The World Is Not Enough (1999).