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December 31, 2006

2006: Year of the Online Corrections

Regret the Error has an interesting post about the evolution of the online correction. Of particular note:

Our final evolution of note is a lovely project being pursued by Reuters. The wire service now has a regular feature called, "The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly." This is a regularly updated online page where editors respond to feedback (usually complaints or requests for correction) from readers. It's often akin to a friendly cafe where Reuters serves itself some humble pie and readers get to enjoying watching them eat it.

Posted by TS at 03:14 AM |  Comments (1)

December 27, 2006

In S.F. Chronicle Opinion Piece, Something Missing

CAMERA noted earlier this year that the San Francisco Chronicle's opinion pages have been somewhat of a refuge from journalistic standards of accuracy—at least in Op-Ed's criticizing Israel, where factual errors are consistently published and left uncorrected.

This despite the newspaper's promise "to promptly correct errors of fact and to promptly clarify potentially confusing statements."

The latest problems come in a Dec. 24 column in the newspaper's Insight section. The column, by César Chelala, starts by describing the recent murder of 3 children in the Gaza Strip:

It is a miracle that 6-year-old Lydia Abu Eid is still alive. She was being driven to school in Gaza with her three cousins -- Osama, 9; Ahmed, 6; and Salam, 3 -- when their car was riddled with more than 70 bullets by masked gunmen.

The story went on to bemoan the situation in Gaza, protest measures taken by Israel and claim that because Israel is an occupying power in Gaza, it has responsibility for what happens in that territory:

On a recent visit to Gaza, Louise Arbour, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said widespread violations against civilians had taken place in the Gaza Strip. She also told journalists that the lack of accountability for human rights violations in Gaza leaves locals with no one to turn to when a violation occurs.

Articles 19 and 50 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions state clearly the responsibility of the occupying power -- in this case Israel -- to treat humanely the wounded and sick, to protect hospitals and to care for children."

One major omission/error is apparent to anyone who follows the conflict (even putting aside the issue of whether Israel is bound by the Fourth Geneva Conventions in relation to the occupied territories)—Israel no longer occupies the Gaza Strip, and thus can't be held responsible for the territory's ongoing human rights violations. Unfortunately, because Chelala never mentions this point, those less familiar with the details of the conflict are likely to believe Israel still occupies and is responsible for the Gaza Strip.

But that's not the worst omission. Nowhere in the article does the writer mention that the 3 murdered children mentioned in the first paragraph were killed by Palestinians, and not Israelis. The children were the sons of a Palestinian security officer, and Palestinian intelligence sources suspect the shooting was perpetrated by Hamas. (See here for more details.)

In the context of her column criticizing Israel, Chelala's failure to note that the gunmen were Palestinian is clearly "potentially confusing" to readers, and should be clarifed.

Posted by GI at 05:07 PM |  Comments (0)

Declassified Report Incriminates Arafat for Murders


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Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily notes today that a recently declassified document incriminates Yasir Arafat for the 1973 murder of a Belgian and two American diplomats in Saudi Arabia.

See the document here, and for more details and context see Farah's article here.

Posted by GI at 03:53 PM |  Comments (0)

December 21, 2006

Israel Blog Revamped

Much of the news coming out of Israel is about conflict. But what about the day-to-day lives of regular Israelis? The Consulate General of Israel in New York decided to expose the ordinary (and often quite extraordinary) activities of Israelis, both living in Israel and also in New York, using its blog: www.isrealli.org.

isrealli.org welcomes contributions from the public. If you have a video clip, a story to write, or just a thought that conveys a sense of what Israel "isrealli" like, send them by way of the blog - and enjoy!

Originally launched in February 2006 as a videoblog (the first ever established on behalf of a state), the blog was recently revamped and re-launched with a broader platform to post stories, pictures and video links.
The blog covers a wide range of topics including music, food, science, sports and popular culture. Blog posts have included videos of amusing Israeli advertisements and footage of a wacky pillow fight that takes place in Tel Aviv each year.

ACTION ITEMS

* Inform the media of this resource for stories about life in Israel. Be sure to send them the link: www.isrealli.org

* Inform your friends and family, particularly younger members, of this interesting Web site: www.isrealli.org

* If you live in Israel, submit a story or video clip to:
contact@isrealli.org

Posted by LG at 08:29 AM |  Comments (0)

December 19, 2006

Carter's Ideas Face Refutations from the Past


carter cnn.jpg vs. question mark face.jpg

It’s interesting to compare Jimmy Carter’s current remarks about the Arab-Israeli conflict with comments made a few decades ago by a U.S. presidential candidate.

Carter, for example, complains about the international community's stance on Hamas—that the terror group should not be funded so long as it denies Israel’s right to exist, supports violence, and rejects previously signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. And in Carter's view, the rejectionist Hamas should govern the Palestinians—with the financial support of the United States:

If you sponsor an election or promote democracy and freedom around the world, then when people make their own decision about their leaders, I think that all the governments should recognize that administration and let them form their government. (Feb. 1, 2006, CNN's Larry King Live)

And the United States is colluding in this punishment of the Palestinian people when all they did was vote for candidates of their choice who happened to represent Hamas. (Dec 2, 2006, CNBC’s Tim Russert show).

The candidate, on the other hand, insisted that a Palestinian government refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist should itself not be recognized (let alone funded):

I would not recognize the Palestinians as a political entity—nor their leaders—until after those leaders had first recognized Israel’s right to exist. (New York Times, Apr. 2, 1976, qtd. in Near East Report, April 21, 1976)

I would not recognize the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the PLO, nor their leaders under any circumstances, diplomatically, until they recognize the right of Israel to exist in peace in their present location in the Far East—in the Middle East. (Jan. 11, 1976, NBC’s Meet the Press)

More broadly, Carter repeatedly suggests it is Israel’s occupation of the West Bank that causes the Arab-Israeli conflict, that peace would reign if Israel were to simply withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines, and that the Palestinians share little blame for their situation. Typical is this comment on CNN’s American Morning:

... the bottom line is that Israel will have peace, in my opinion, as soon as they agree to withdraw from Palestinian territory. (Dec. 13, 2006)

The candidate, however, held a much a much different understanding of the conflict:

I think the world should know, and I think the President of the United States and the Secretary of State of the future can explain, that the Palestinian problem did not originate because of Israel, that this is a long-standing problem whose complexity has been created to a substantial degree by the nations who surround it and who now blame the Palestinian problem on Israel itself.

So who was this presidential candidate? You may have already guessed the answer: it was Jimmy Carter himself.

Posted by GI at 10:57 AM |  Comments (4)

December 18, 2006

Hezbollah Acknowledges Higher Losses than Previously Admitted

While much of the media continues to contend that almost all of the 850-1191 Lebanese fatalities in this summer's conflict between Israel and Hezbollah were civilians, the Associated Press reported on December 14 that a senior Hezbollah official now admits that Hezbollah lost 250 dead . This is more than three times the 68 to 74 dead that Hezbollah previously admitted - a tally often cited by major media organizations like AP, AFP, the Wall Street Journal and many others.

The figure was given by Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of Hezbollah's politburo, who dismissed claims of Hezbollah dead as high as 800 or more (see here for CAMERA's analysis of Hezbollah casualties.) While the figure given by the Hezbollah official is still much lower than Israel's own estimates, it nevertheless corroborates CAMERA's contention that Hezbollah was understating its losses and it casts further doubt on the claim that Lebanese casualties were overwhelmingly uninvolved civilians.

The admission by Hezbollah also contradicts the analysis provided by former Middle East adviser to the EU Alistair Crooke who, along with Mark Perry, wrote a piece titled "How Hezbollah Won the War" that appeared in the Asia Times and the online magazine, CounterPunch. In their piece, Crooke and Perry wrote:

Perhaps the most telling sign of Israel's military failure comes in counting the dead and wounded. Israel now claims that it killed about 400-500 Hezbollah fighters, while its own losses were significantly less. But a more precise accounting shows that Israeli and Hezbollah casualties were nearly even ...

Considering that 120 Israeli soldiers were killed vs. at least 250 Hezbollah fighters, will Crooke and others who boast of Hezbollah's "victory" admit their error?

Posted by SS at 04:46 PM |  Comments (1)

What Part of 'Death to Israel' Does Margot Patterson Not Understand?


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Margot Patterson

Margot Patterson, a staff writer at the National Catholic Reporter, is standing by her "reporting" about Hezbollah. Despite its ongoing campaign to overthrow a democratically elected government, continued acquisition of weapons courtesy of Syria, and increasingly flagrant expressions of Jew-hatred, she still thinks the group should be portrayed as a nuanced and sophisticated political organization whose anti-Semitism isn’t worth mentioning.

In a letter to the Jewish Chronicle responding to a piece drawing attention to her indifference to Hezbollah's anti-Semitism, Patterson asks "[M]ust every article about Hezbollah discuss its anti-Semitism?"

Patterson’s genius as a journalist is finding cooperative experts who allow her to write around the elephant in the room: Hezbollah hates Jews as Jews, because they are Jews.

As to her mind-boggling question: “[M]ust every article about Hezbollah discuss its anti-Semitism?” the answer is in a word, yes. If Patterson were interested in covering this "facet" of Hezbollah's ideology, she might have interviewed Larry Johnson, a former counter-terrorism expert with the Clinton Administration who states that “Hezbollah is the direct ideological heir of the Nazis.”

With her question, Patterson seems to be angling for her very own entry in an ecumencial update of an old classic.

She has earned it.

Posted by CameraBlog at 03:26 PM |  Comments (0)

December 15, 2006

No Change of Heart

A coalition of prominent Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders calling itself the National Interreligious Initiative for Peace in the Middle East issued a statement titled "Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Peace: From Crisis to Hope" earlier this week.

This statement is much more conciliatory than the statements about the Arab-Israeli conflict typically issued by mainline Protestant churches. The conciliatory tone is probably due to the involvement of Roman Catholic Bishops and Jewish leaders in the coalition that authored the document, not on any change of heart on the part of the mainline Protestant leaders who signed the document. In fact, on one key issue -- Israel's security barrier -- the document actually contradicts resolutions passed by two denominations whose leaders signed the document.

To be sure, the document includes an explicit call for Palestinian leaders to acknowledge Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and reform their society. While this call may seem naive, it suggests that some religious leaders in the U.S. are starting to think about problems in Palestinian society that make it difficult, if not impossible for the Palestinians to live in peace with their Jewish leaders.

Unlike resolutions passed by the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) asking Israel to take down the security barrier it is building to stop suicide attacks from the West Bank, this statement implicitly acknowledges Israel's right to build the barrier while expressing concern over its location. The legislative bodies of the UCC and Disciples of Christ, whose leaders both signed the statement, explicitly denied Israel's right to build the barrier and insisted that it be taken down in resolutions passed in 2005. These resolutions have yet to be repudiated by the legislative bodies or by the leaders of these churches.

In any event, most of the signatures on this document are followed by an asterisk stating that the organizations are included "for Identification Only."

That helps to explain the presence of Rev. John M. Buchanan's signature on the document. Rev. Buchanan is editor and publisher of the Christian Century, a magazine that will print corrections when its writers misreport the names of book publishers and songwriters, but will not correct repeated errors by its star columnist, James. M. Wall when his errors help portray Israel as an intransigent aggressor nation.

Signing a petition along with a few dozen others is one thing, but taking resonsibility for the information your magazine provides about the Arab-Israeli conflict is another matter.

Posted by CameraBlog at 12:58 PM |  Comments (0)

December 14, 2006

Is Barrier a "Land Grab" or a "Land Give"?

The argument by Jimmy Carter and other pro-Palestinian activists that Israel's security barrier is built not to protect Israelis, but rather as a "land grab" looks like it could use some work.

Haaretz reports that the route leaves much private Jewish-owned land outside the barrier:

About 5,000 dunam (1,250 acres) of private land owned by Jews were left outside the separation barrier in the Jerusalem area. The route of the barrier was completed earlier this week. In the Atarot-Neveh Ya'akov area, some of this land is already being used by Palestinians. In other areas, such as Har Gilo and Anatot, the land is currently not being used.

Military officials say that deciding on the route of the fence sometimes required making difficult decisions that take into consideration High Court decisions as well as the demographic map created by the barrier. They emphasize that the barrier harms Arabs as well as Jews, and that most of the difficulties are the result of decisions based on security factors.

Much of the Jewish land at issue was purchased before the establishment of the state.

Posted by GI at 04:23 PM |  Comments (0)

State of the "Cease-Fire"

Wondering how the Gaza Strip cease-fire has been going?

Ha'aretz today reports that

Since the cease-fire took hold November 26, Palestinian militants have fired more than 20 rockets at Israel, according to the IDF's count, causing no casualties.

And as the Jerusalem Post noted a couple of weeks ago, the smuggling of weapons from Egypt into Gaza, which was supposed to end with the cease-fire, continues.

Posted by GI at 12:36 PM |  Comments (0)

December 13, 2006

Metro on Carter

After running pro and con interviews about Jimmy Carter's new book, the Boston Metro newspaper is asking readers: "What do you think of Carter's book?"

As is documented on CAMERA's Web site, Carter's book if full of fabrications, distortions, and other errors. See CAMERA's roundup for an overview of the detailed criticism the book has received.

If you want to write the the Metro on the topic, its email address for letters is letters@metro.us.

Posted by GI at 12:19 PM |  Comments (7)

December 09, 2006

Carter Accused of Plagiarism

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With the resignation of Prof. Kenneth Stein from the Carter Center, major media outlets are beginning to pick up on the controversy surrounding Jimmy Carter's new book.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Harsh allegations over President Carter's new book on Israel and the Palestinians came into sharper focus Thursday when a former top aide to Carter said the book appeared to contain maps that were "unusually similar" to those in an earlier book. . . .

"It appears that at least two maps that came out of the Carter book were or are very closely similar, or unusually similar, to maps that were produced and published in Dennis Ross' book 'The Missing Peace,' " Stein said.

The New York Times reports:

Mr. Stein said the former president had come to speak to his class as recently as last month. Mr. Stein declined to detail all the inaccuracies he found, saying he was still documenting them for a planned review of the book; but he did offer a few examples.

Mr. Carter, he said, remembers White House staff members in 1990 being preoccupied by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait when the former president tried to describe to them talks he had had with Middle Eastern leaders. But the White House briefings occurred in the spring, Mr. Stein said, and the invasion of Kuwait was not until August. . . .

Mr. Stein also said he had been struck by parts of Mr. Carter’s book that seemed strikingly similar to a work by a different author, but he would not disclose the details.

“There are elements in the book that were lifted from another source,” Mr. Stein said. “That other source is now acting on his or her own advice about what to do because of this.”

According to the Washington Post, Stein

said accounts in the book about meetings he had attended with Carter between 1980 and 1990 had left out key facts in order to "make the Israelis look like they're the only ones responsible" for the failure of peace efforts.

Posted by TS at 02:24 PM |  Comments (2)

Missed Memo at Ha'aretz

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As usual, [Yediot Achronot editor Rafi] Ginat did not respond to attempts to contact him. Despite the paper's daily demands for comment from hundreds of individuals and organizations, the leaders of Israel's largest newspaper apparently consider themselves exempt,

Asaf Carmel of Ha'aretz admonished Yediot. Carmel should get off his high horse long enough to read the memo from his editor, David Landau, "to ignore [CAMERA] and all of its complaints."

Posted by TS at 02:00 PM |  Comments (0)

December 07, 2006

ABC Correspondent Writes of Respect for Prof. Stein

As noted on CAMERA's Web site, Professor Keneth Stein has resigned his position as Middle East Fellow of the Carter Center of Emory University due to the "egregious errors and polemical conclusions" in President Carter's new book.

ABC News' Senior National Correspondent Jake Tapper vouches for Professor Stein on his ABC blog:

As a college student, I interned for Dr. Stein at the Carter Center in 1988. He's a stand-up guy, one committed to trying to find a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and one certainly open to the Palestinian point of view.

My work for Stein revolved around research about THE BENELUX STATES -- the economic union that allows Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemboug to function together while existing separately. I also researched ways in which Israel and the Palestinians were intertwined infrastructurally -- water supplies, for instance. This is not the work of a man turning a deaf ear to the needs of the Palestinians -- it's the work of a man researching ways to achieve peace.

Posted by GI at 05:38 PM |  Comments (0)

Episcopalian Fairness? File Not Found

In most instances when an institution or publication decides to withdraw an article on its Web site from public view, it redirects surfers to a page that reads "file not found" or "page not available."

Not so with the Episcopal Church.

Rev. Canon Brian Grieves, director of the church's peace and justice ministries, recently agreed to take down an article falsely accusing Israel of perpetrating a massacre during the battle at Jenin in 2002. Rev. Canon Grieves made the decision after being contacted by CAMERA over inaccuracies and bias on the church's Web site.

The article is down, only to be replaced with another article about a church resolution condemning Israel for accidently shelling a chapel in Gaza in 2003. A mere "file not found" does not suffice.

A coincidence? Maybe, but in light of what the denomination has been telling people about the conflict for the past few years (and longer), probably not.

The peace and justice bodies within the Episcopal Church have studiously ignored the issue of Muslim anti-Semitism and the role it plays in fueling the Arab-Israeli conflict. An Oct. 2005 report by the church's Social Responsibility Investments Committee devotes one sentence to the issue: "The SRI Committee also notes examples of hostility and anti-Semitism of certain Arab states in the region against the state of Israel."

If the Episcopal Church were publicizing Israel's security barrier, it could be trusted to describe in great detail its impact on Palestinians. For many years, when it came to talking about issues on the other side of the conflict, the Episcopal Church's prophetic voice stammered, and then fell mute.

It was not a coincidence.

It was a pattern.

Fortunately, there are signs that this pattern is changing. The Episcopal Church's Executive Council recently passed two resolutions about the Arab-Israeli conflict, one of which calls on Hamas to accept Israel's right to exist and for it to abide by previous peace agreements.

Sadly, the replacement of one anti-Israel article for another on the Episcopal Church's website brings into question just how much has changed at the denomination.

Posted by CameraBlog at 04:24 PM |  Comments (2)

December 06, 2006

The Washington Post's Levantine Lexicon

The Washington Post’s Anthony Shadid won one of journalism’s highest awards, the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 2004, for his coverage of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and ouster of dictator Saddam Hussein. Contradictorily, his recent reporting from Lebanon reads like a competitor for the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil. The PRSA gives its Silver Anvil for “excellence in public relations” in “the forging of public opinion ....”

Forged opinion, alright

In by-lined articles in the December 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 editions of The Post Shadid:

* Writes twice of Hezbollah’s “culture of resistance to Israel” — not to its repeated anti-Israel aggression or its goal of destroying the Jewish state. Mentions “the contention of Hezbollah’s foes that it started the latest war with Israel” as if that was in question rather than a fact;

* Writes twice of “Syria’s 29-year military presence,” not occupation, of Lebanon and once of “Syria, long the king-maker here ....” But he refers twice to “the 1982 Israeli invasion” of Lebanon, not Israel’s war against the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon, once to Beirut’s “southern suburbs, devastated by Israeli bombing this summer,” not at all to Hezbollah’s thousands of rockets fired into Israel;


* Twice quotes Lebanese referring to“‘Sayyid Hasan’ ... an honorific for the Hezbollah leader” Hasan Nasrallah. Nasrallah ally Michel Aoun is “an influential former general.” Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, whose government Nasrallah seeks to overturn, gets no honorifics or complimentary adjectives;

* Describes Hezbollah in the same article as an “armed militia, social welfare group and nascent political party ...” It “evolved from a shadowy organization blamed for two attacks on the U.S. Embassy and the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks here, killing 241 soldiers, into a sprawling movement that fields a crack militia, serves in parliament and delivers welfare — from education to compensation for war damages ....” While Hezbollah has “evolved,” its opposition includes “the right-wing Phalangist Party, that commanded the largest Christian militia in the civil war”;

* Does not refer to Hezbollah’s designation by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization, its kidnapings and murders of Lebanese and Westerners in the 1980s and ‘90s, or its reported involvement in the bombings of the Israeli embassy and Jewish community headquarters in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1992 and 1994, respectively;

* Treads lightly over Hezbollah’s role as Iranian and Syrian anti-Israel proxy in Lebanon, whitewashing the “Party of God’s” aggression that sparked this summer’s war with Israel. Avoids mention that the fighting appeared meant to sidetrack both a U.N. investigation into Syria’s role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and Western pressure for sanctions against Iran for its suspected nuclear weapons program;

* Excuses Hezbollah’s “state-within-a-state” aggrandizement, writing that “the movement has adapted,” participating in parliamentary elections, entering the cabinet after Syria’s withdrawal and “as pressure built for its disarmament, as called for by U.N. Resolution 1559 [2004] it struck its alliance with Aoun .... Each turn can be read as defensive [emphasis added]: protecting its weapons, preventing Lebanon from growing too close to the United States, and promoting the ambitions of the Shiite community, long disenfranchised and still sometimes perceived as second class”;

* Writes of “the fervent young men of Hezbollah and its allies” on one side of the barricades, “soldiers in red berets toting U.S.-made M-16 rifles” on the other; and

* In three of the five articles, gives the conclusion to pro-Hezbollah demonstrators:

“‘I’m staying until the government falls,’ he said, narrowing his eyes. ‘Dignity is more important than anything else’,” “‘The war went for 33 days, but the protests can go on for a year,’ .... Around him, tents had multiplied ... He smiled. ‘I don’t think it will take that long,’ he said, pointing at the Serail [government headquarters]. ‘I’m hoping tomorrow they all leave’,” and “‘We want a Lebanese government that doesn’t take its decisions from the Americans and the Zionists.’ Behind [Hussein] Ismail was another poster of Nasrallah. ‘He promised a victory, and victory is coming, just like he said.’”

Fig leaf

Passing references to Iranian and Syrian support for Hezbollah in Shadid’s often over-long, loosely edited news features don’t change the slant shown and promoted by The Post’s tendentious word choices. For more on how such coverage misinforms readers, see Washington Post-Watch, December 2, at www.camera.org.

Posted by ER at 04:24 PM |  Comments (0)

December 05, 2006

Palestinians cutting olive trees and blaming settlers?

Next time you see a report about Israeli settlers allegedly cutting down Palestinian olive trees, demand the proof and send the editor a copy of the following article which details how an Arab olive grove owner enlisted Palestinians to cut down his own trees in order to receive compensation from Israeli authorities:

Inspectors catch Palestinians cutting olive trees;

Cutting trees and blaming the settlers?

by Tal Yamin-Walbowitz
Maariv website (Maariv NRG) 22 November 2006
www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/508/339.html
[Translation by IMRA]

Inspectors caught Palestinian youths in the act as they were cutting olive
trees, claiming they did it at the request of the owner of the grove. The
police suspect that he did it for compensation. Now additional Palestinian
complaints will be investigated

Are the settlers hurting the Palestinians or are the Palestinians hurting
themselves? Frequently Palestinians farmers complain that settlers cut their trees and hurt them and their livelihoods. At times even IDF soldiers and police had to protect the Palestinians farmers in the territories during the olive harvest season. But the police suspect now that in some cases the
Palestinians themselves are the ones cutting the trees and then blaming the
settlers and demanding compensation from the Civil Authority.

Foresters of the JNF patrolling the Shaar Efraim area today noticed to their
surprise a number of Palestinians cutting olive trees in violation of the
law as they were damaging scores of olive trees. The foresters hurried to
call the police who arrived and held four of them for questioning.

The four were transferred to the police station in Kedumim and in their
interrogation they said that the owner of the property invited them to cut
the trees for firewood. A police spokesman for the Judea-Samaria District,
Superintendent Pintzi Mor, told Maariv NRG that the owner of the area would
be called in for questioning.

Sources in the police said that over the years the police have experienced a
phenomenon of the filing of complaints to the Civil Authority regarding the
destruction of olive trees, along with a claim for financial compensation.
In the last year alone the Palestinians in the area of Judea and Samaria
filed claims for 350 thousand shekels for the destruction of olive trees.

The police now intend to check the complaints in detail. A senior source in
the police told Maariv NRG that "most of the complaints for damage to olive
trees were filed in recent years at the end of the harvest season or
towards the end, something that increases the suspicion that this is a cooked deal."

Posted by LG at 03:16 PM |  Comments (0)

A Rising Star on Islam's Territorial Double Standard

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Ibrahim contrasts Muslim intolerance to non-Muslims at the Muslim-conquered Hagia Sophia complex in Istanbul with the Jewish tolerance granted Muslims at the Al Aqsa mosque (above), annexed by Israel

Raymond Ibrahim is a name to watch for. His book, The Al Qaeda Reader (DoubleDay) will be out in April 2007. By way of introduction, don't miss his outstanding Op-Ed today in the Los Angeles Times. Entitled "Islam gets concessions; infidels get conquered: What they capture, they keep. When they lose, they complain to the U.N.," is so brilliant that it takes a lot of restraint to select the following excerpts instead of simply reproducing the whole piece:

All this illustrates the privileged status that many Muslims expect in the international arena. When Muslims conquer non-Muslim territories — such as Constantinople, not to mention all of North Africa, Spain and southwest Asia — those whom they have conquered as well as their descendants are not to expect any apologies, let alone political or territorial concessions.

Herein lies the conundrum. When Islamists wage jihad — past, present and future — conquering and consolidating non-Muslim territories and centers in the name of Islam, never once considering to cede them back to their previous owners, they ultimately demonstrate that they live by the age-old adage "might makes right." That's fine; many people agree with this Hobbesian view.

But if we live in a world where the strong rule and the weak submit, why is it that whenever Muslim regions are conquered, such as in the case of Palestine, the same Islamists who would never concede one inch of Islam's conquests resort to the United Nations and the court of public opinion, demanding justice, restitutions, rights and so forth? . . . .

But perhaps Muslims cannot be blamed for expecting special treatment, as well as believing that jihad is righteous and decreed by the Almighty. The West constantly goes out of its way to confirm such convictions. By criticizing itself, apologizing and offering concessions — all things the Islamic world has yet to do — the West reaffirms that Islam has a privileged status in the world.

Ibrahim is a Language Specialty Assistant at the Library of Congress's Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division.

Correction: An earlier version of this blog entry incorrectly stated that Ibrahim is a PhD candidate at Georgetown University. He was enrolled in a Masters program in 2002.

Posted by TS at 06:51 AM |  Comments (0)

Lebanese to NY Times: 'Of Course Hezbollah is Responsible' For Civilian Deaths

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Video footage showing Hezbollah exploiting civilian area

The fact that Hezbollah hid behind Lebanese civilians during its war with Israel this summer is not news for most people. At the time, the New York Times, for example, reported on such instances here and here.

With the release of a new study by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center using declassified images, the Times today has a comprehensive article on the subject. Elias Hanna, a retired Lebanese Army general, agrees with the Israeli accusations that Hezbollah took cover behind civilians:

"Of course there are hidden invisible tunnels, bunkers of missile launchers, bunkers of explosive charges amongst civilians. . . .

Asked whether Hezbollah should be seen responsible for the deaths of Lebanese civilians in the war, he replied: "Of course Hezbollah is responsible. But these people are ready to sacrifice their lives for Hezbollah. If you tell them, 'Your relative died,' they will tell you, 'No, he was a martyr.' The party's military preparations from 2000 till 2006 took place in their areas. They were of course done with complete secrecy, but in accordance with the civilians."

Hanna knows it. Hezbollah knows it. I know it. You know it. The only ones who don't know it are UCLA English prof Saree Makdisi and Nicholas Goldberg, editor of the Op-Ed page at the Los Angeles Times, who has yet to substantiate or correct Makdisi's outrageous assertions. Send polite requests for an overdue correction to Goldberg (Nick.Goldberg@latimes.com) and to LA Times Readers Representative Jamie Gold (readers.rep@latimes.com).

Posted by TS at 02:10 AM |  Comments (0)

December 03, 2006

Peace Now Settlement Report Based Only on Palestinian Claims

On the heels of Peace Now's latest report claiming that roughly 40 percent of the land used by Israeli settlements is private Palestinian land, a CAMERA analysis determined:

There can be no doubt ... that the majority of land that Peace Now calls “private Palestinian land” is in fact mewat, or waste land, and therefore permanently in the public domain, with not even rights to cultivate. ...

... even if Peace Now’s very questionable leaked data is technically accurate, its other “facts,” its analysis, and its conclusions are faulty, and therefore deserve little credibility.

Now, what little credibility the Peace Now report had seems to be gone. A follow-up CAMERA investigation finds that

The leaked map says nothing about rights to the land in question, only about claims to such rights. And many of these claims, such as the Jahalin claims on Ma’ale Adumim, were debunked long ago.

Read the first CAMERA analysis here, and the follow-up investigation here.

Posted by CameraBlog at 08:28 PM |  Comments (1)

Voices of 'Victims' or Aggressors?

Earlier we reported that the Los Angeles Times' Megan Stack, stationed in Beirut, is said to be utilizing the "voices of victims to paint a picture of the events she is witnessing."

In her report today on the Hezbollah-engineered attempts to overthrow the Lebanese government, she confuses the aggressor for the victim when she quotes without challenge a Hezbollah supporter:

"We were all attacked by Israel, and this government didn't do anything. If it weren't for Hezbollah, Israel might be here now," [student Jad] Salim said. "Now they are the ones responsible for what might happen tomorrow."

Just to recap not-so-distant history, it was Hezbollah that initiated the conflict with Israel, launching a cross-border raid in which soldiers were killed and captured and simultaneously lobbing rockets at Israeli towns.

Posted by TS at 05:53 AM |  Comments (0)