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April 04, 2005

Philadelphia Inquirer Notices Israeli Concerns

This shouldn't be so unusual that it warrants surprise. But it is.

The Philly Inquirer paid more than passing attention to serious Israeli security concerns in a story today by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson.

The article goes into some depth about smuggling from Egypt into the Gaza Strip:

... what happens below the surface, in secret tunnels that connect the two Rafahs, will help determine the fate of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip this summer. Before the July deadline to withdraw Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers from Gaza, Egyptian forces will have to stop smugglers from using the tunnels to ship weapons to extremists on the Palestinian side of the border crossing.

The arms smuggling from Egypt has given some Israelis pause about trusting the job to the Egyptians. Israeli media reported late last week that Palestinian extremists had received antiaircraft missiles capable of reaching planes over Israel through the tunnels. And the Israeli military announced Wednesday that its soldiers had arrested four armed Palestinians overnight who were trying to smuggle 53 handguns, 11 assault rifles, and dozens of ammunition clips from Egypt to Gaza. ...

There is international pressure on Israel to withdraw from the Egypt-Gaza crossing to help lay the foundation for a viable Palestinian state. One proposal would transfer patrol duties to a joint Egyptian-Palestinian force.

But Israel refuses to leave without assurances that Egyptian Rafah won't become a transit point for assailants targeting Israel, less than an hour's drive away. While Egyptian police here are quick to crack down on anti-Israeli protests by Rafah's 40,000-plus residents, Israeli officials complain that Egyptian forces haven't done enough to curb the steady flow of weapons to Palestinian extremists through tunnels dug beneath the border.

"The most important thing is we want to pull out of Gaza and not go back again," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said. "We've seen in the past that Jihadist groups try to smuggle in weapons - high-grade explosives and rockets - through the Egyptian border, and they will continue to do that.

"We want a situation where the border is sealed to prevent this smuggling... . We have a long border with Jordan, and the Jordanians do a very good job of preventing the illegal smuggling of weapons. ..."

Why is this "so unusual that it warrants surprise"?

Comments by an anonymous media critic in Jerry Verlin's Brith Sholom Media Watch Alert help answer this question:

This past week there were major stories coming out of Israel and the Palestinian-controlled areas that were either given very short shrift or totally ignored by the Inq. Might this be because they showed just how much the Palestinian Arabs are bent on destroying Israelis and Jewish ties to the land of Israel?

The story of Egypt illegally allowing deadly heat-seeking missiles to be passed through tunnels that begin in its country into waiting hands in the Gaza Strip was but a blip in the Inq [pars. 13-15 of 16, Mon, 3/28/05, A3, AP]. This despite the fact that they can be used to bring down a passenger jet flying into or out of Ben-Gurion Airport, and the AP's own assessment [par. 14]: "If true, the missiles could change the strategic picture."

And why did the Inq not mention at all the writing on the wall - "Allah," half-a-yard high on the Temple Mount wall? The Palestinian Authority's Wakf (religious authority) controls the Temple Mount area (a prize concession from the Israeli government) and is therefore responsible for any acts of vandalism to the Jewish holy site. The Wakf has also been 'excavating' the Temple Mount, destroying and removing millennia of Jewish history. Are you outraged yet?" DQ

Add to the list of DQ's Inq omissions this week the Inq's standing omissions of the Jewish refugees from Arab lands, Jerusalem's century long Jewish majority, the Palestine Mandate and Partition as opposed to "Israel's creation," and that the human rights groups which criticize Israel condemn the terrorists' [sic] acts as crimes against humanity.

Posted by GI at April 4, 2005 12:25 PM