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February 28, 2007

Ma'an's Sanitized English Reports


Palestinian Media Watch reports that the Ma'an Palestinian news agency publishes hateful language denying Israel's right to exist in its Arabic reports, but cleans up the English-language translations for foreign consumption. PMW states:

In recent stories, PMW has noted that the Ma'an releases in Arabic include the hate ideology espoused by the terror organizations that deny Israel's right to exist, express reverence for suicide terrorists and justify terrorist murder as "resistance." But when translated into English, the same stories go through a sterilization process to hide from the English readers – and possibly from the two Western countries, the Netherlands and Denmark, who give them funding – the terrorist ideology Ma'an is helping to propagate.

PMW then provides some examples, including the following:

On Jan. 29, 2007, a suicide terrorist killed three Israelis in the city of Eilat. The Ma'an Arabic report included the language of the terror organizations, while the English was cleansed with changes and omissions, including changes to the language of direct quotes. The differences are striking:

Denial of Israel's right to exist
In English Ma'an accurately reports that the event happened "in the southern Israeli resort of Eilat." But in the original Arabic, Eilat is changed from an Israeli city to a Palestinian city occupied by Israel – reflecting the terrorist assertion that all of Israel is “occupied Palestine.

Ma'an English: "…in the southern Israeli resort of Eilat."
Ma'an Arabic in first reference: "… in Eilat located in the south of occupied Palestine."
Ma'an Arabic in second reference: "…carried out a brave deed and for the first time in occupied Eilat.?

In the English the mother is referred to simply by her name and age: "Ruwaida Siksik, 42."
In Arabic Ma'an adds: " Ruwaida Siksik, 42, whose family originated from the occupied city of Jaffa."

The routine definition in a news story of Jaffa, a part of southern Tel Aviv, as "occupied" and Eilat as "occupied Palestine" is a way to linguistically express denial of Israel's right to exist, and is the terminology used by the terror organizations.

Posted by TS at 03:33 AM |  Comments (0)

February 27, 2007

Ethnic Cleansing Means Increasing Population?

Ilan Pappe

Israeli revisionist historian Ilan Pappe claimed recently on Sky TV that "an ethnic cleansing [of Palestinians] is taking place in the greater Jerusalem area," adding that "The evidence is abundant."

Apparently Pappe missed this "evidence" summarized from a Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies report:

Overall, Arabs will constitute 40 percent of the city's population by then. The 245,000 Arabs living in the city in 2005, the last data available, make up 34% of the capital's 720,000 residents, with Jews the remaining 475,000 (66%).

The annual growth rate of the Jewish population in Jerusalem is only 2.7%, far behind the Arab's rate of 3.4%. At the end of 1967, Jerusalem's population was 266,000, with 68,600 Arabs (26%) and 197,700 Jews (74%).

Since the Six-Day War, the Arab population in the city has had a growth rate of 257% compared to a Jewish rate of 140%.

Posted by at 04:25 PM |  Comments (0)

This is Peacemaking?

Anyone who doubts that the leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) are still using their church's institutional credibility to broadcast a distorted narrative about the Arab-Israeli conflict to its members and to the general public should watch the first minute or so of the propagandistic video church leader and staffers have recommended to Sunday school teachers and youth group leaders as part of a "peacemaking" curriculum.

Already in its first minute, the video errs. It opens with a the following text on the screen:

In 1967, following a war between Israel and the countries of Syria, Jordan and Egypt, Israel Militarily occupied the West Bank, Gaza, Strip, and East Jerusalem.

That year, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 242 calling on Israel to withdraw from the Occupied Territories.

Israel has yet to comply.

A couple of issues:

Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and more than a year later, the PC(USA) is endorsing a video that fails to take this into account? The Israelis offered a concession that the Palestinians had been demanding for years, and responded with increased rocket attacks and elected Hamas into power. Is inserting a few more lines of text detailing these facts into the video that difficult?

Moreover, UN Resolution 242 calls on Israel to withdraw from territory after a negotiated settlement, a fact not included in the video's opening text. And it specifically doesn't require a withdrawal from "the Occupied Territories." As the drafters of the resolution have repeatedly explained, 242 calls on Israel to withdraw from territory, but it doesn't specify how much territory, because the country was not expected to return to its precarious pre-1967 lines.

The text is also conveniently vague about how the "war between Israel and the countries of Syria, Jordan and Egypt" was started, and silent about Arab and Palestinian behavior since the end of the Six Day War.

Before Israel launched a pre-emptive strike against Egypt, Egyptian leaders shut down the Straits of Tiran, called for Israel's destruction, and massed troops on the border with Israel. It also expelled a UN peacekeeping force from the Sinai. From 1964 through the first four months of 1967, Egypt launched more than 100 cross border attacks.

Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser made his intentions perfectly clear: "Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight."

Syria had repeatedly shelled Israeli villages from the Golan Heights before the 1967 War and on May 20, 1967, Syrian Defense Minister Hafez Assad stated that his country's forces were "ready not only to repulse the aggression, but to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland. The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united.... I as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation."

And Israel did not take the West Bank from Jordan until after the Jordanians started shelling Jerusalem.

After the 1967 War, the Arab League issued the Three Nos of Khartoum:

1. No peace with Israel.
2. No recognition of Israel.
3. No negotiations with Israel.

The text does not include any discussion of the role Yasir Arafat played in the collapse of talks at Camp David, or the role of the Palestinian Authority in encouraging violence during the Second Intifada.

For some reason the video's producers did not feel compelled to include all these relevant facts. The opening text provides the frame that its producers expect the audience to use to interpret the rest of the information in video.

What PC(USA) leaders and staffers are doing is broadcasting a moral interpretation of the Arab-Israeli conflict that is based on a distorted, biased and one-sided historical narrative.

Fortunately, the laity in the PC(USA) does not seem to accept either the moral assessment or the distorted narrative offered by their leaders.

Posted by CameraBlog at 10:20 AM |  Comments (0)

February 26, 2007

Hamas Spends Millions on Propaganda

Portal for Hamas' most important Internet sites. Recent upgrades costed "hundreds of thousands of dollars"

Much is made in the media about the near-bankrupt state of the Palestinian Authority, which since January 2006, has been under Hamas control. Those like the National Catholic Reporter, who are concerned about the possibility of famine in Palestinian areas, should know that Hamas recently invested millions of dollars to upgrade its Web sites and to operate a satellite broadcasting station.

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reports:

1. A few months ago Hamas began operating a satellite broadcasting station called The Light of Al-Aqsa ( Siraj Al-Aqsa ), and at the same time upgraded its Website system. Both media continue to serve as platforms to encourage terrorism and hatred for Israel, although in recent months they have become more important in the propaganda war and mud-slinging campaign against Abu Mazen, Muhammad Dahlan and Fatah (official Palestinian media are under Abu Mazen's control and Hamas has not yet been able to exploit them for its own purposes).

2. Hamas invested enormous sums in the upgrades. Highly-placed Palestinian sources in Ramallah, most probably supporters of Abu Mazen, told a Jerusalem Post 1 reporter that Hamas had taken millions of dollars of the funds its leaders had received from visits to the Arab-Muslim countries and used the money to improve its propaganda assets. According to the sources , some of the funds were used to launch an English Website for Hamas's military wing (Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades) and the Palestine-info portal received a serious facelift “costing hundreds of thousands of dollars? (Jerusalem Post, January 18, 2007).

Posted by TS at 03:22 AM |  Comments (0)

February 24, 2007

If it bleeds, it leads. And that misleads.

There's an interesting piece in Contentions (Commentary magazine's blog) about what types of stories American or British newspapers choose to report, and how that decision can skew people's preceptions of the Middle East conflict.

Hillel Halkin writes:

“Police thwart major suicide attack.? That’s not front-page news in America or England—unless, that is, it happened in New York or London. If it happened in Tel Aviv, you need at least a bomb going off, and preferably a death or two, for anyone elsewhere to sit up and take notice. And this explains a certain paradox: the more successful Israel’s army and security services are in preventing deadly acts of Palestinian terror against Israelis, the more the world looks upon the means of prevention as vindictive and unnecessary harassment of Palestinians on Israel’s part. ...

... how did Israel’s intelligence services know that someone from Jenin was on his way with a bomb? And how did they know where he was hiding so that they were able to get to him in time?

... by doing the kinds of nasty things that nice people don’t do to one another.

The world hears mostly about the nasty things. “Dozens of Israeli lives saved yesterday? doesn’t play well with the editors of the New York Times or the Guardian in London.

Posted by at 02:11 PM |  Comments (1)

February 23, 2007

Does Not Compute

Just two days after the Associated Press reported that aid to the Palestinians "more than doubled in 2006," the venerable news agency published another article about Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh stating that "Hamas' refusal to meet international conditions for acceptance means a continuation of the foreign aid boycott that has driven Gaza deeper into poverty."

On Feb. 21, the Associated Press reported that despite the boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, foreign aid to the Palestinians doubled from $348.5 million in 2005, to $721.7 million in 2006. The article explains the money was "funneled to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas."

The Feb. 23 article, however, provides no such explanation. It merely repeats the convenient, but inaccurate conventional wisdom about lack of foreign aid to the Palestinians. This conventional wisdom has been discredited by the AP's own reporting, but somebody needs to send Karin Laub, the author of the piece on Haniyeh, a memo.

Reporters looking for a better explanation for the deepening poverty in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank should look elsewhere.

Posted by CameraBlog at 10:27 PM |  Comments (1)

February 22, 2007

Palestinian Unity — For Muslims Only?

Muslims only.jpg
A highway sign in Saudi Arabia keeps Christians out

Father Raymond J. De Souza raises an excellent point about the Mecca accord that the media missed entirely. He points out in the National Post:

. . . Palestinian Christians have new cause to worry about their religious liberty.

The feuding Palestinian parties met in the holy city of Mecca (Makkah), hosted by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Mecca is an odd choice for a summit site, because non-Muslims are not permitted to enter the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medinah. There are checkpoints on the highways into the holy cities, at which non-Muslim motorists who may have missed the "Muslims Only" signs are advised not to go any further.

Media reports were remarkably silent on the question of holding the Palestinian summit in a city where Palestinian Christians -- a small minority, but historically active in Palestinian leadership -- are barred by law. Perhaps a waiver was given to allow non-Muslims to temporarily enter, perhaps not. Perhaps the Christians were hustled through the airport on diplomatic passports; perhaps they were whisked through in disguise. Perhaps they converted before the summit; or perhaps they were just left at home. In two weeks of heavy media coverage, I have not seen the issue addressed.

Perhaps it is now simply accepted that the Palestinian question is to be understood as an exclusively Islamic question. In the last year, I have written twice in these pages about the Islamification of Palestinian politics, as the cause has been transformed from a nationalist project to a religious one. The Mecca summit would seem to confirm that this is now quasiofficial policy.

It's worth reading the entire article. (Hat tip: Daily Alert)

Posted by TS at 05:32 AM |  Comments (1)

February 20, 2007

Indocrination in a PC(USA) Church Near You

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) may have reversed its policy of singling Israel out for divestment at its meeting in 2006, but the denomination’s leaders and staffers have not abandoned their obsession with Israel's defense policies.

A nine-page document titled “Palestinian Christians in the Middle East – Study Resources for Children and Youth? embodies the same distorted moral narrative PC(USA) leaders and staffers were broadcasting before the church’s 2004 General Assembly passed a resolution calling on the church to initiate a process of “phased, selective divestment? from Israel.

The theme of the resources is “Walls or Bridges??

The most prominent reference displayed is a video titled “Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land? which includes commentators such as Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk and Hanan Ashrawi, none of whom can be expected to discuss in any detail, Israel’s legitimate security needs or the hostility it faces from its neighbors. Presbyterian layman Will Spotts reports that the video does not provide any dissenting voices. He continues:

It incorporates a series of comments by radical anti-Israel activists as if they were unbiased experts offering objective commentary. ... It shows a series of de-contextualized news clips and random video without providing anything like a complete explanation. It repeats many times statements of fact about Israeli motivations that are simply untrue. This video asserts rightly that one must ask “Does the news coverage reflect the reality on the ground?? Sadly, the video fails its own test. Israel is said to be “involved in an attempt to ideologically occupy the American media.? Israel is said to be “in the White House.? Israel is severely criticized for focusing on public relations; “the propaganda machine? is used to describe this. Media owners, corporate interests, Israel’s public relations efforts, and Jewish and Christian organizations are said to control the news coverage. The occupation is presented the cause of all violence; this claim is one-sided at best.

The resource also suggests teachers and youth advisors obtain the September/October 2004 issue of Church & Society titled “Wall of Security, A Barrier to Peace,? which provides extensive detail about the impact of the security barrier on Palestinians. Out of more than 100 pages of text, the magazine included approximately two paragraphs about the impact of Palestinian terror attacks that preceded the barrier’s construction. And like a lot of mainline commentary about Israel’s security measures, it is filled with distortions and omissions that lead the reader to believe the barrier is something other than a passive structure designed to prevent violence.

For example, Victor Makari, the PC(USA)’s area coordinator for the Middle East wrote an article that falsely suggests the fence near Bethlehem will electrocute anyone who touches it:

“Walking right up to an electrified portion of the barrier at Bethlehem (see photo, page1), one is immediately seized by a sense of desperation when confronted with a red warning sign – in Hebrew, Arabic and English – that reads (with some variation): “MORTAL DANGER – Military Zone, Any Person Who Passes or Damages [the Arabic reads, …. Touches] the Fence [the Arabic reads, … the Wall] Endangers His Life.? (Church and Society, September/October 2004)

By using the word “electrified? Makari gives Sunday school teachers and youth leaders (many of whom will not know that the fence is equipped with electronic detection devices) every reason to believe Israel is zapping or worse, electrocuting innocent children who dare touch the barrier. How else are readers who know little about the barrier to interpret Makari's writing?

Reading the entire issue, one is left with the overall impression that the barrier was built on a whim, out of a malevolent desire to deny Palestinians their freedom and that the terrorism would end if only the Israelis stopped defending themselves from those who have repeatedly and persistently called for the destruction of their homeland.

This is the type of material PC(USA) leaders and staffers think should be used in Presbyterian Sunday schools and youth groups.

Why is this so offensive? A little background is in order.

As dangerous as life can be for Jews in the Middle East, Israel is still a much safer place for Jews than Christian Europe was during the 1940s. More Jews (approx. 33,000) were killed in the course of a few days outside of Kiev in 1941, than in all of Israel’s wars since 1948. (About 24,000 Israelis have been killed by violent acts since Israel’s founding.)

The relative safety of Jews in the Middle East is not due to the peaceful intentions on the part of Israel’s neighbors. Political and religious leaders in the Middle East speak about Israel in the same manner as the Nazi regime in Germany did before and during the Holocaust. Israel is regarded by extremists in the Middle East as a cancerous entity which must be destroyed, just as the Jews of Europe were portrayed as a blight on Europe.

Despite unending and growing enmity toward Israel, it survives.

The decisive factor behind the relative safety of Jews in the Middle East is the very thing mainline Christian leaders in the U.S. obsess about -- its military force -- its ability to obtain weapons, field an army, equip and maintain an air force and yes, build a security barrier to prevent attacks against its citizens.

From a pacifist, peacemaking perspective, calling for the U .S. government to block weapons sales to Israel, asking U.S. officials to make sure U.S. tax dollars are not used to build a security barrier would also require documenting and condemning the violence against Israel with the same vigor it has condemned Israeli use of force. It would also require pointing out the animosity against Israel that is rampant throughout the Middle East. In the main, the co-called peacemaking churches have not done these things.

Yes, there are the obligatory, but sparse, condemnations of suicide bombings, but mainline leaders seem reluctant to talk about incitement on Palestinian television, or the manifold expressions of the Blood Libel (which seems to have gotten a lot more traction in the Middle East than the Gospel) that have taken root in the Middle East.

Take a look at the statements from the leadership of mainline Christian institutions in the U.S. – the PC(USA) especially – and you will see a troubling tendency. The prophetic voices of these institutions are typically triggered by Israeli use of force – and not the Palestinian violence that preceded it, the animosity that motivated it, or the support it receives from other countries in the region.

That’s not peacemaking.

H/T: Solomonia

Posted by CameraBlog at 12:45 PM |  Comments (3)

Bahrain News: Palestinian TV Car Stolen

Bahrain News reports today:

Masked armed men have stolen a Palestinian tv car last night after attacking the passengers on board, sources from the Palestinian security revealed.

Palestinian News Agency quoted these sources as saying a group of masked armed men stopped the car which was heading for Gaza and forced the passengers to leave the car before stealing it and then disappeared to unknown area.

Posted by TS at 07:14 AM |  Comments (0)

Israeli-Palestinian Radio Debuts

The Jerusalem Post reports today:

A new English-language Israeli-Palestinian radio station will begin broadcasting in Israel and the PA territories, Israel Radio reported on Tuesday.

The new station, Ram FM, will air daily in studios in Jerusalem and Ramallah, offering music and news broadcasts. . . .

When asked how the new radio station would refer to Palestinians who carry out terror attacks, the news manger, Andre Bolton, said it would not use the terms "terrorist" or "freedom fighter", but would remain as true to the facts as possible.

Posted by TS at 07:00 AM |  Comments (2)

February 18, 2007

CMEP's "Peacemaking" Used to Buttress Incitement

An article in the Turkish Daily News, provides another bit of evidence that "peacemaking" statements by church organizations in the U.S. have unintended consequences.

The article, which recyles the false charge that the excavation near the Mughrabi Gate of the Temple Mount “a threat to the foundations of the Al-Aqsa mosque," uses a Feb. 9, 2007 letter from CMEP to counter Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's complaints about extremists attempting to use the excavation as a pretext to incite violence.

CMEP's letter, signed by Executive Director Corinne Whitlach and the group's chair, Maureen Shea, asked officials from the U.S. Dept. of State to pressure Israel to stop the excavation approximately 60 meters from the Temple Mount but failed to insist that the Palestinian officials work to promote calm amongst their followers and deal with the issue in a peaceful manner.

The article, written by Nicola Nasser from Ramallah, states:

Islam's third holiest site in Jerusalem is the heart and soul of the Arab and Palestinian national, religious, historical and cultural heritage and the symbol of their more than 5,000-year uninterrupted existence on the land, long before the Hebrews swept into Palestine on the blood of butchered men, women and children of the completely destructed Jericho, according to the Old Testament. The destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque would, God forbid, crown the Israeli cleansing of the Palestinian cultural structure after obliterating their existential infrastructure.

Wiill the CMEP respond to this obvious attempt to incite hostility toward Israel? Will the CMEP call for calm in the Muslim world? Will it call upon Palestinian leaders to behave responsibly?

It all depends on whether the CMEP is interested in promoting peace and responsible behavior by all parties involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict, or if it is interested in continuing its habit of handing propaganda victories to Israel's adversaries.

Posted by CameraBlog at 04:57 PM |  Comments (0)

February 15, 2007

Israeli Excavation Not Near Mosque

The charge that Israel’s excavations near the Western Wall will destroy or damage the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been leveled not only by Hamas, but by "moderate" Arab leaders as well.

This BBC graphic helps show the absurdity of that charge (note the mosque's location roughly a football field away from the excavation site):

temple mount digging.gif

Posted by at 11:33 AM |  Comments (0)

February 14, 2007

Supremacist Views Proudly Spouted in UNC Newspaper

According to an essay by Linda Quiquivix, published in the Daily Tarheel (Univ of North Carolina), her requirements for a boyfriend (Feb 9, "Know this, future ex-boyfriends" are that he must believe that people with darker skin are superior to people with lighter skin. And he must not have any compassion for Jewish children blown up by Hezbollah and Hamas rockets and bombs, because (Quiquivix presumes) Israelis are white.

Aside from being blatantly callous and racist, Quiquivix is ignorant of the fact that most of Israel's citizens are darker skinned Jews whose ancestors lived for centuries in places like Ethiopia, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, India, Morocco and Spain. For example, Palestinian Qassam bombs blew into pieces 4-year-old Yuval Abedeh and 2-year-old Dorit Benisian, whose families were part of the 21,000 persecuted starving black Jews rescued en masse from Ethiopia by Israel in Operation Moses (1984) and Operation Solomon (1991). Quixquivix also appears unaware that 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs, who have also been victims of Palestinian terror.

How odd that Quiquivix is knee-jerk anti-Israel, when Israel is the most progressive, free country in the Middle East, with equal rights for people of all ethnicities, sexual orientation and religions. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of a society where people are judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin seems very far away when uninformed supremacist views such as Quiquivix's are welcome in a student newspaper.

Posted by LG at 12:17 PM |  Comments (3)

February 12, 2007

Israeli Hospital Treats Palestinian Gunmen

The Washington Times front-page article, "Israeli Hospital Treats Palestinian Fighters"(February 9) reports on the treatment of Palestinian gunmen in an Israeli hospital in Ashkelon. Correspondent Joshua Mitnick discloses that Barzilai Medical Center has been taking in Palestinian Arabs wounded during the late January-early February clashes between the Hamas and Fatah factions in the Gaza Strip. According to The Washington Times, Barzilai received the wounded "at a rate of several a day" and "has treated 124 patients from Gaza in the past year."

The wounded are treated regardless of their political affiliations or, apparently, status as security personnel, factional fighters or terrorists. Mitnick quotes Barzilai's chief medical director, Ron Lobel, as saying that "we don't know if it's Hamas or Fatah, we don't know if they are civilian or armed forces, we just know they are injured". However, the correspondent adds, most of the wounded going to Israel for treatment have been from the Fatah movement, since they fear entering Gaza Strip hospitals in which Hamas members have their own wards and even rooftop firing positions.

israeli nurse helping palestinian.jpg
ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTOGRAPHS - Mon 05 Feb, 02:13 PM Abdullah Shalayil, a 26-year old Palestinian policeman and Fatah loyalist whose body was riddled with bullets during a gun battle with Hamas loyalists, receives medical care by Israeli nurses at the Barzilai Medical Center, in the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon, Monday, Feb.

One of the article's main points is the potential of Israeli medical care to change Palestinian minds. According to correspondent Mitnick, "when a wounded gunman [Adel Odeh] from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction tells a reporter that he wants 'to say thank you to all of the people of Israel' it seems that the center's work is changing at least some hearts and minds."

Reports like this one, rare in the major news media, provide a fuller perspective of the conflict and Israeli-Palestinian interactions. - RR

Posted by ER at 12:51 PM |  Comments (0)

February 11, 2007

CMEP Rewards Palestinian Violence

The Churches for Middle East Peace, a so-called "peace-making" group has issued a letter to the U.S. Department of State, asking officials to call on Israel to halt the excavation at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. By failing to call on the Palestinians to halt their acts of violence, the CMEP offers a propaganda victory to the PA's Muslim Waqf, which has caused hysteria in the Middle East by falsely asserting that the construction threatens the structural integriy of Al-Aksa Mosque.

The letter issued on February 9, 2007 reads in part: "Unless Israel quickly stops the excavation work, and the planned construction, we fear that violent protests will break out in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and far beyond."

The excavation, conducted in preparation for construction of a permanent walkway that will allow access to the Temple Mount to non-Muslim visitors, does not threaten in any way the structural integrity of the Al-Aksa Mosque as Palestinian leaders have asserted. The work is taking place approximately 180 feet from the Temple Mount.

The excavation is taking place between the Dung Gate into the Old City and the Mugrabi Gate that leads to the Temple Mount itself. Even YNET's Yehuda Litani, who has called for the excavation and the construction to stop, reports the work is "apparently justified" because the "embankment leading to the Mugrabi Gate above the Western Wall's square had been badly damaged in recent years and required thorough renovation work." Currently, access to the Temple Mount is achieved with a temporary wooden walkway that Israeli officials plan to replace with a more permanent structure -- hence the construction. (Non-Muslim tourists are an important source of revenue to tour guides and vendors on the Temple Mount.)

In response to the excavation (necessary to construct support pilings for the walkway), Palestinians rioted, throwing rocks at a Canadian tour bus and at Israeli soldiers on Friday, Feb. 9, 2007.

What the CMEP's letter underscores is a problem on the part of much of Christian "witness" about the Arab-Israeli conflict -- a persistent tendency to regard Palestinian misbehavior as unremarkable. In its letter to the U.S. Department of State, Israeli excavation is criticized, but Palestinian stone-throwing is condoned by silence.

The CMEP's predictable refusal to condemn Palestinian acts of violence and its failure to call upon Palestinian leaders to promote calm and raise their concerns through diplomatic channels -- and not through stone-throwing protesters -- only encourages further acts of violence and intimidation on the part of Palestinians.

Posted by CameraBlog at 09:51 PM |  Comments (5)

February 10, 2007

James M. Wall Makes Yet Another Error

James M. Wall, longtime columnist for Christian Century has made yet another error in a commentary about the Arab-Israeli conflict, but it's unlikely it will be corrected, because the magazine's editors have demonstrated a fundamental unwillingness to exert editorial oversight over Rev. Wall's work.

The error is in his most recent piece "Apartheid Denial." In the article Rev. Wall writes: "In her book History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving, Lipstadt describes her successful suit against Irving as a "Holocaust denier."

As Solomonia reports, this is an "inversion of fact."

Irving sued Lipstadt, as this BBC article about Irving's imprisonment for holocaust denial (which Lipstadt decried) makes clear: "But the author and academic Deborah Lipstadt, who Irving unsuccessfully sued for libel in the UK in 2000 over claims that he was a Holocaust denier, said she was dismayed."

Will the magazine's editors finally step in and print a correction? Probably not.

Posted by CameraBlog at 12:55 AM |  Comments (0)

February 09, 2007

The One-State Solution Deception

Some anti-Israel activists, like Ali Abunimah, who runs the internet site Electronic Intifadah, masquerade as moderates promoting a benign-sounding "one-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But their call for a single binational state encompassing Israel, the West Bank and Gaza is not a new or moderate idea at all.

The "one-state solution" has long been recognized to be a euphemism for the destruction of Israel. Advocates of the one state solution include Yasser Arafat, Hamas and anti-Israel Jewish extremists like Jeff Halper and Tony Judt.

The process of eliminating Israel that the one-state solution portends is easily understood.

1. Declare a one-state solution that eliminates the law of return, which allows Jews to easily become citizens of Israel, while allowing Palestinians from all over the world to converge on Israel.

2. In combination with the growing Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza, the Arab population would become the majority.

3. The Arab majority could then vote in an Arab Islamist government -- like Hamas -- which would establish Arab and Islamic supremacy in the state. If the situation for Jews in this new Arab state would resemble what the Jewish minority had faced in every other Arab state, the Jews would then be subject to persecution, driven out and killed.

Islamists throughout the world have been quite open about their goals with respect to establishing Islamic states in their lands of domicile once they have the population advantage. Advocates of the one-state solution are uniformly bitter opponents of Zionism. Read the Hamas charter to get an idea of what policies could be implemented as soon as an Islamist group acquired power in a one-state scenario.

While the one-staters deny the right of Jews to a homeland, they do not criticize the 22 Arab-Muslim homelands, most of which deny Jews equal rights or even the right to citizenship and treat their Christian minorities deplorably.

The one-state solution is a deceptive means to accomplish the destruction of Israel and subsequent subjugation or elimination of the Jewish population. Othman Abu Gharbiya, a senior official in the Palestinian Administration, stated in November 1999:

Every Palestinian must clearly understand that the independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, is not the end of the process but rather a stage on the road to a democratic state in the whole of Palestine... This will be followed by a third phase, namely Palestine's complete amalgamation in the Arab and Islamic cultural, national, historic, and geographic environment. This is the permanent-status solution.

Posted by SS at 02:03 PM |  Comments (0)

February 06, 2007

Hezbollah Plants Explosive Charges on Israeli-Lebanon Border

IDF detonates Hezbollah explosives

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center of the ICC reports that for the first time since the Hezbollah/Israel ceasefire, Hezbollah has planted a chain of explosive charges disguised as rocks in the area of Avivim on the Israeli-Lebanese border. Hezbollah's propaganda arm, Al Manar TV, is falsely claiming that IDF penetrated about 20 yards into Lebanese territory in the area of Zar'it without UNIFIL's attempting to halt the action. What is Hezbollah's objective? According to the ICC:

Their objective may have been to send a message to the IDF, warning the soldiers not to approach the blue line in locations where it passes north of the security fence. It is also possible that Hezbollah was planning to activate the charges against the IDF. Politically , placing the charges might be a test case, the first of its kind since the second Lebanon war, to see how the IDF would react (and how UNIFIL, the Lebanese government and the international community would react as well). Experience has shown that such test cases may presage other provocations, especially as Hezbollah progressively rehabilitates its forces and gains confidence.

Posted by rh at 11:47 AM |  Comments (0)

February 02, 2007

Merkley Exposes Carter and Sizer's Suspicious Fantasies

Paul Merkley, author of Christian Attitudes Towards the State of Israel and American Presidents, Religion, and Israel: The Heirs of Cyrus is one of the more trenchant observers of the relationship between Christian churches and the State of Israel. His recent review in Christianity Today demonstrates his ability to counter the suspicious fantasies that motivate many of Israel's critics today.

The following passage (part of Merkley's criticism of Stephen Sizer's alarmist book Christian Zionism: The Road Map to Armageddon?) is brutal, but spot on:

It is a common feature of anti-Christian Zionist literature that little interest is shown in the actual historical circumstances that brought the modern State of Israel into existence. In Sizer's book there is absolutely none, unless we count this oddity on page 148: "in 1948 the U.S. government was just as opposed to the founding of the State of Israel [as was] Britain." Is this revisionism, or what? It is Franklin Roosevelt attacking the Japanese fleet at Pearl Harbor. Did none of that long list of people who are thanked on the Acknowledgements page twig to this incriminating bit of confusion? Does InterVarsityPress not have fact-checkers? This is embarrassing. It is, however, all we have to indicate that Sizer knows that once there was no State of Israel but now there is—somehow.

What is Merkley getting at? Sizer's failure to acknowledge a couple of basic facts of history: The U.S. voted in favor of UN Resolution 181 in 1947 and President Truman recognized Israel within 11 minutes after Israel declared independence at the stroke of midnight on May 14, 1948. The fact that Stephen Sizer is able to blandly assert, without further explanation, that the U.S. government was somehow "opposed to the founding of the State of Israel" in the face of these facts is a good indication of the quality of Sizer's book, his research, and his thinking.

Merkley demolishes Jimmy Carter's Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid with this bit of incisive criticism:

There is not a word about Islam in Carter's book, except in passing as a benign presence (like the Christian church, here and there) consoling lives lived in the shadow of Jewish oppression. Neither is there any developed attention to the dynamic of terror, except to note in passing that decent people don't do certain things—never naming the names of those who proudly claim "responsibility," thus leaving us with the impression that the failure of decency is evenly distributed. Indeed, it is the Palestinians who are the primary victims of terror, since Israel seizes upon "provocative acts by Arab militants" as excuses for "devastating military response." Admittedly, "Some Palestinians react by honoring suicide bombers as martyrs to be rewarded in heaven and consider the killing of Israelis as victories." Regrettable, but perfectly understandable.

This allusion to "provocative acts" just about uses up Carter's interest in discussing terrorism. What is more interesting to him is Israel's inexplicable practice of locking up "thousands of Palestinians" in its prisons. Indeed, "one of the vulnerabilities of Israel, and a potential cause of violence is the holding of prisoners … [including] the revered prisoner, Marwan Bargouti." (Bargouti is "revered," in case you didn't know, because he is directly responsible for the murder of several Israeli citizens. To Israel it makes sense that he should be a prisoner. To Carter, it does not.) In view of this policy of locking up thousands of people (inexplicable except in terms of some kind of congenital sadism), we are invited to admire the tactical genius which motivates the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers—namely, the reckoning that in the past Israel has exchanged "1,150 Palestinians for three Israelis in 1985; 123 Lebanese for the remains of two Israeli soldiers in 1996," and so on. This passage, in my view, is the lowest point so far in Jimmy Carter's descent into total Chomskyism.

When Christians like Stephen Sizer and former President Carter speak prophetically about the Arab-Israeli conflict, they would do well to look closely at the writings of the Old Testatment prophets. Virtually all of their testimonies begin with a superscript detailing that section of history during which they preached. The call for justice was rooted in history, not suspicious fantasy.

Posted by CameraBlog at 10:59 AM |  Comments (0)