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May 30, 2007

No Outcry for Palestinian Refugee Camp Under Attack by Lebanese Army

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The National Post of Canada carried a perceptive piece by Jonathan Kay on May 29, 2007 asking why the heavy-handed Lebanese army operation against Fatah-al-Islam in the Nahr al Barad refugee camp has not received the same critical coverage that the Israeli operation in Jenin did in April 2002.

Kay points out that both the Arab League and the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana have come out with a statement supporting the Lebanese army and condemning the terrorist group Fatah al-Islam that is holed up in the refugee camp. The UN Security Council called the actions of Fatah al-Islam "an unacceptable attack" on Lebanon's sovereignty. The fighting has received relatively little coverage in the international media beyond the initial burst of news. NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are noticeably restrained in their comments, in sharp contrast with their reflexive condemnation of Israel in 2002.

How different the response was after Israel's operation in Jenin, Kay notes:

First of all, a flood of foreign journalists would descend on the camp to document Israel's cruelty and barbarism, and the story would remain front page news to this day. Al-Jazeera would be a 24/7 montage of grieving mothers swearing revenge on the Zionist butchers, and rumours would swirl of mass graves and poison gas. The Arab League, EU and United Nations would condemn Israeli aggression -- as would the editorial board of The New York Times. The Independent would dispatch Robert Fisk to embed with Fatah al-Islam. And the newspaper's cartoonist, Dave Brown, would produce another award-winning rendition of his signature theme: Jews eating Palestinian babies.

Kay concludes that since Israel can't be blamed in this case, Muslims being killed by other Muslims is not particularly noteworthy or of much interest.

Posted by SS at 02:34 PM |  Comments (2)

New Six-Day War Resource

CAMERA's new online resource about the Six-Day War has gone live!

We're still working on adding some more useful content to the site, but what's already up should be extremely helpful for those seeking factual information, often overlooked by the media, about the war, its causes and it's consequences.

The site is www.sixdaywar.org. Check it out, and spread the word!

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Posted by GI at 09:07 AM |  Comments (1)

"What temple?"

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Columns from the Middle Ages damaged by Palestinian construction on the Temple Mount/photo by Zachi Zweig

In the Los Angeles Times today, Walter Reich remarks on the Palestinians' ongoing denial of archeological finds relating to ancient Jewish life in the holy land:

But [the King Herod tomb] episode of [Palestinian] archeological denial pales in comparison with the decades of denial in the case of Jerusalem's Temple Mount, which is known to Arabs as Haram al Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary.

In 1930, when Britain administered the area, the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem noted that the Temple Mount's "identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute." But at the Camp David summit in 2000, Yasser Arafat insisted that a Jewish temple had existed not on the Temple Mount but in Nablus. And an Arafat aide, Saeb Erekat, said, to President Clinton's amazement, "I don't believe there was a temple on top of the Haram, I really don't." Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian Authority president, later agreed with Erekat, as did the mufti of Jerusalem. Arafat later went further and denied the temple existed anywhere in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza, including Nablus.

Today, denial of the temple's existence has become a mainstay of Palestinian rhetoric. "They say that the temple was here," a Palestinian historian scoffed. "What temple …? What archeological remains?" And temple denial has turned into temple removal. During the last few years, Palestinians have discarded remains of the first and second temples.

Reich, however, then steps on shaky ground when he asserts:

This absurd Palestinian denial of Jewish roots in the land has been matched on the part of Israelis who deny that there was a large and long-indigenous population of Arabs in Palestine when the Zionist movement vastly expanded the number of Jews in the area more than 100 years ago. Fortunately, the denial of Palestinian history has been utterly discredited among nearly all Israelis.

So, while "nearly all Israelis" accept Palestinians' connection to the land, Palestinian "historians" and the highest level of Palestinian officialdom reject the Jews' ancient ties to the land. How exactly does one "match" the other?

The false parity is again apparent in the bland, equalizing sub-headline:

How Israelis and Palestinians put their own spin or archeology to claim an ancestral homeland

Posted by TS at 05:24 AM |  Comments (4)

Greenway's Fading Memory

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H.D.S. Greenway takes a trip down memory lane, only his memories are faded around the edges. In a column in the International Herald Tribune today ("Dreams of Peace Fade") and the Boston Globe yesterday, he reminisces about the Egyptian-Israeli peace made three decades ago:

Israel did accept [peace with Egypt], and in those days it was hoped that a peace with Egypt would lead to an end to occupation for Palestinians. Sadat certainly hoped so. But Israel wasn't ready for that, and so another 30 years of occupation have followed with all the ensuing consquences.

But it was the Palestinians -- not the Israelis -- who thwarted 1977 negotiations for autonomy plans by way of PLO assassinations of any Palestinians suspected of working towards that goal. They include Hamdi Kadi, Salim al-Asmar, and Abdel-nur Khalil Janho.

Second, Greenway reverses the chronology of Egyptian-Israeli peace overtures, wrongly suggesting that it was Egypt that initiated. On November 9, 1977, Sadat made his famous speech to the Egyptian Parliament that he was prepared to travel to Jerusalem to make peace. Several months earlier, on June 20, 1977, Begin presented his government to the Knesset, including its "Basic Guidelines," which affirmed that Israel:

will invite Israel's neighbors, jointly and severally, either directly or through a friendly state, to conduct direct negotiations towards the signing of a peace treaty, without prior conditions on the part of anyone and without formulation of a solution drawn up from outside.

Of course, these inconvenient facts do not support Greenway's narrative that Israel is to blame for failed Mideast peace while "The Arabs are desperate to just get it done!"

Posted by TS at 03:41 AM |  Comments (0)

May 27, 2007

Christian Arrested for Entering Muslim Only City

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Maybe the Sri Lankan Christian missed the prominent highway signs warning non-Muslims to stay off the Saudi highways leading to Mecca. Perhaps Nirosh Kmanda, found while hawking goods in Mecca, hadn't intended to challenge Muslim apartheid, but was merely trying to eke out a living. The Christian was nevertheless arrested for daring to step on holy Muslim soil. The Jerusalem Post reports:

After running his fingerprints through a new security system, Saudi police discovered that he was a Christian who had arrived in the country six months earlier to take a job as a truck driver in the city of Dammam. Kamanda had subsequently left his place of work and moved to Mecca.

"The Grand Mosque and the holy city are forbidden to non-Muslims," Col. Suhail Matrafi, head of the department of Expatriates Affairs in Mecca, told the Saudi daily Arab News. "The new fingerprints system is very helpful and will help us a lot to discover the identity of a lot of criminals," he said.

Similar restrictions apply to the Saudi city of Medina. In a section entitled, "Traveler's Information," the Web site of the Saudi Embassy in Washington states that, "Mecca and Medina hold special religious significance and only persons of the Islamic faith are allowed entry."

Highway signs at the entrance to Mecca also direct non-Muslims away from the city's environs.

Sadly, apartheid roads do indeed exist in the Middle East.

Posted by TS at 05:25 AM |  Comments (5)

May 24, 2007

Amnesty International Gets Amnesty on Critical Reporting

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Amnesty International's 2007 report is in, and its findings about Israel and the Palestinians are being dutifully reported by the mainstream media. The Los Angeles Times, for example, reports today:

Israeli troops killed more than 650 Palestinians last year — half of them unarmed civilians, including about 120 children — a threefold increase from 2005, the human rights group Amnesty International said in its annual report.

The number of Israelis killed by Palestinian armed groups diminished by half last year, to 27, including 20 civilian adults and one child, the report says.

An Associated Press count differed somewhat, showing with 580 people killed on the Palestinian side and 34 on the Israeli side in 2006.

A longer, more detailed version of this article by AP's Amy Teibel likewise ignored the serious questions about the report's credibility as noted by NGO-Monitor. For example:

· Amnesty cite numerous figures without any sources to verify its claims.

· Amnesty falsely claims only 3 Israeli servicemen were killed in the Hezbollah cross-border raid that triggered the conflict. The true statistic is in fact eight.
· Amnesty claims Israel killed 650 Palestinians, yet makes no distinction between combatants and civilians. Nor do they provide a source for these figures. Similarly, no sources are given for the claim that 1200 people were killed in Lebanon during the war, and no differentiation is made between Hezbollah fighters and Lebanese civilians.
· Amnesty criticizes Israel's use of cluster bombs, but fails to even mention Hezbollah's use of Chinese made cluster bombs fired at Israel.

Why give Amnesty a pass? Wouldn't it be worthwhile for AP to investigate, for instance, the discrepancy of 70 Palestinian casualties between AI's figures and those of the wire service?

Posted by TS at 07:03 AM |  Comments (1)

ABC Takes 'Blame Israel' Global

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ABC's Dan Harris: Israeli-Palestinian conflict "fuelling terrorism all over the world"

Who's to blame for the taking of hostages in Iran, the bombing of barracks in Lebanon, the war in Iraq, the conflict in Afghanistan, and the rising mutual hostilities between Shiites and Sunnis? Why, Israel, obviously. At least that's the conventional wisdom among some journalists.

But ABC's Dan Harris is not content to limiting Israel's troublemaking just to the Middle East; he takes it worldwide, stating on ABC's "World News Sunday" May 20:

And there are new developments tonight in another conflict that is fuelling terrorism all over the world, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Time Magazine's Lisa Beyer faulted the “corrosive myth: that the fundamental problem in the Arab world is the plight of the Palestinians," and CNN pulled and revised a viciously one-sided blame Israel segment in 2001. ABC, meanwhile, takes the "Big Lie" to ever higher heights.

Posted by TS at 06:00 AM |  Comments (0)

Can You Imagine If Israel Were Doing This?

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A Palestinian refugee is evacuated in Lebanon/Photo by AFP

Melanie Phillips reflects on Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, where 70 people were believed to be killed in clashes with Lebanese troops in two days:

A refugee camp under heavy bombardment; civilians being killed along with the terrorists who are hunkered down among them; military authorities talking of having terrorists ‘hermetically sealed’ and that they will be removed one way or another because they pose a threat to the country which simply cannot be tolerated; ambulances prevented from reaching the injured and even being fired upon. Can you imagine the reaction if Israel were to be doing this?

But just look at the British media. Where are the virulent denunciations of the Lebanese government? Where are the editorials condemning it for dangerous over-reaction? Where are the columnists screaming war crimes? Where are the politicians and the bishops condemning the Lebanese for a disproportionate response and demanding a cease-fire now? Funny, that — I seem to have missed them.

And now look at the British media’s coverage of the bombardment of Israel by Hamas, and its belated military response. That response has been reported as if Israel is driving events. The bombardment has scarcely been mentioned – except in passing in the stories about Israel’s response, which is thus presented as the driving force. The fact that getting on for two hundred rockets have been fired by the Palestinians at Sderot in the past two days has been virtually ignored. The fact that yesterday a 35 year-old woman was killed by one of these rockets has been all but ignored by journalists who usually preface any reference to the Kassams as ‘home-made’, to give the impression that this is a Gazan Dad’s Army up against the Israeli military behemoth. The fact that – according to Israel’s deputy defence minister Ephraim Sneh – Iran is behind the Hamas rocket bombardment in order to distract attention from its nuclear programme is virtually ignored.

Posted by TS at 03:37 AM |  Comments (0)

CAMERA Calls on CBS to Urge Fact-Checking at S&S

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The New York Sun's Gary Shapiro reports on CAMERA's efforts to promote fact-checking and standards of accuracy in non-fiction books in the wake of the appearance of Jimmy Carter's error-filled Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid published by Simon and Schuster. CAMERA is calling on the CBS Corporation, owner of Simon and Schuster, to urge its subsidiary to institute fact-checking. A proposal in this regard was presented from the floor of the CBS Annual Shareholders meeting yesterday by a CAMERA Board Member.

Posted by TS at 02:28 AM |  Comments (0)

May 22, 2007

Pew Survey of Muslim-Americans Confirms Lower Population Estimates

A Pew poll surveying the opinions of Muslim-Americans has provided important data on the size and status of the Muslim-American community.

The Pew survey confirms the population estimates by population researcher Thomas Smith, who estimated the Muslim population in America at 1.9 million in 2000, considerably lower than the figures provided by Muslim advocacy groups like CAIR. Muslim organizations claim the American Muslim population is slightly larger than the Jewish population, at around 6-8 million. Haverford College Political Scientist Harvey Glickman a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute also recently asserted that Muslim-Americans now outnumber American Jews. These exaggerated estimates are routinely accepted by many organizations and information resources like encyclopedias and internet information sites. Smith, whose survey determined the Muslim population of America in 2000 was most likely around 1.9 million, with a figure of 2.8 million being the absolute maximum, has suffered from the lingering question of objectivity because his study was commissioned by the American Jewish Committee.

The recent Pew poll provides confirmation of the soundness of Smith's study, estimating a current Muslim-American population of 2.35 million. Of these, only 24% or less than 600,000 are estimated to be Muslims from Arab countries. It remains to be seen whether the media and information resources will continue to use the inflated figures provided by Muslim advocacy groups.

The survey also reinforces the view that Muslim-Americans are much better integrated economically and culturally than Muslims in Europe.

Posted by SS at 01:41 PM |  Comments (0)

May 21, 2007

Hezbollah History

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A Hezbollah banner showing Iranian leaders — Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
and the late Ayatullah Khomeini — and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah

In yesterday's Baltimore Sun, Lebanese analyst Hussain Abdul-Hussain discusses his immediate experience with Hezbollah in the early 80s, and argues it isn't true that Hezbollah arose as a direct response to Israel's occupation of Lebanon:

Today, most academics have it that Hezbollah was founded in Beirut in 1985 as a resistance movement against Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. The truth is that Hezbollah was founded in Baalbek in 1982 as the nucleus of a hoped-for Islamic republic in Lebanon.

Read the whole piece here.

Posted by GI at 10:51 AM |  Comments (0)

Journalists Under Fire in Gaza

Ha'aretz reports today on the occupational hazards for journalists in Gaza:

But since the Hamas-Fatah infighting in Gaza began last week, being kidnapped is no longer the greatest danger facing journalists. On the very first day of the clashes, a reporter for the Hamas-affiliated paper Falastin was shot dead, along with another employee of the paper.

"The danger is real," said an employee of a foreign news agency. "Journalists have stopped leaving their houses. You can't move in the streets for fear of being hit by a stray bullet."

"And even if you stay home and don't move, that doesn't mean you're safe," he continued. "So many media offices have been hit during the battles because they are located in strategic, multistory buildings: Al Jazeera, Reuters, German television, Radio Al-Quds, private production companies and others."

As a result, foreign correspondents have stayed away, hiring local journalists instead:

A., who writes for a Palestinian paper, also noted that since BBC reporter Alan Johnston was kidnapped, "foreign journalists have virtually stopped coming to Gaza. The foreign media have to make do with us - the locals."

But despite this grim picture, he stressed: "There is more freedom of the press in Gaza than in any other Arab country." Even the foreign media understand that "despite all the pressures on us, we can still provide an accurate picture [of events]," he said.

Unfortunately, though, the historical record on Palestinian stringers has not always been quite as promising as A. claims. Talal Abu Rahma of the Al Durra scandal, and Faiz Abu Smala, a Hamas man who worked for BBC, come to mind.

Posted by TS at 04:39 AM |  Comments (1)

May 20, 2007

World Bank Report Based on Bias, II

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Earlier we reported the fact that the World Bank's report on access and movement in the West Bank is largely based on the questionable work of NGO's, and is therefore unreliable. NGO-Monitor provides more details.

Posted by TS at 03:47 AM |  Comments (0)

May 17, 2007

Doctors Without Borders' Hitman

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When not carrying out the good work of Doctors Without Borders, Muzab Bashir plotted assassinations

In the past, CAMERA has documented Doctors Without Borders' slant against Israel. But even we were startled to read today in the Jerusalem Post that:

A Palestinian from the Gaza Strip who works for the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders has been arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed Thursday.

Mazab Bashir, 25, from Deir el-Balah began working with Doctors Without Borders five years ago. . . .

According to the officials, after the doctor realized that the security surrounding Olmert was impenetrable, Bashir decided in December 2006 to kill David Be'eri, head of the Elad organization, a group involved in purchasing Arab homes in Jerusalem's Old City.

That same month, he underwent combat training in the Gaza Strip in order to learn to kill without using weapons.

In January 2007, Bashir again entered Israel again on behalf of Doctors Without Borders, and began collecting information on Be'eri. He made additional trips to Jerusalem in February and March, and on April 18. He was arrested on April 19.

During his interrogation, Bashir said he had planned to return to Gaza to complete his combat training and learn, among other things, how to break necks. He said he intended to use his skills to kill Be'eri.

Duncan Mclean, head of 'Doctors Without Borders' in the region, told Israel Radio, "I don't think embarrassed would be the right word. We are very sad for Bashir who has been working for us for almost six years. But we would like to make it very clear that we make a distinction between his professional work and what he does on his personal time in the sense that all our staff is hired for professional reasons and I don't think our organization can be held liable for every aspect of their life."

In other words, on his personal time, Bashir plotted and trained to kill the prime minister. In his professional time, he upheld Doctor's Without Borders' mission to "'bear witness' to the conflicts that give rise to its medical work."

Posted by TS at 08:20 AM |  Comments (5)

At Al-Hurra, No Supervisor Spoke Arabic

Imagine supervising the production of a broadcast in a language you do not speak. This actually happened at Al-Hurra, the American-made Arabic language satellite network, paid for by your tax dollars and mine. AP reports:

Overseers of the United States government's Arabic-language satellite television network say a speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah was not screened for anti-Israel content before broadcast because no supervisor spoke Arabic.

"Mistakes were made," Joaquin Blaya, of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, told the House Middle East subcommittee Wednesday, referring to the broadcast last December and others by the network, Al-Hurra, that he said "lacked journalistic or academic merit."

The subcommittee chairman, Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, D-N.Y., said in several instances Nasrallah used the U.S. government's satellite television network as a platform for inciting a crowd to violence against Israel. . .

In another Al-Hurra broadcast, Ackerman said, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya lent support to the Iranian assertion that the world War II Holocaust against European Jews was a myth.

"Why are American taxpayer dollars used to spread the hate, lies, and propaganda of these nuts, when our goal was to counter them?" Ackerman asked. . . .

A new vice president for news, Larry Register, has been appointed, and editors are now accountable for monitoring news items before and wile they are delivered.

The appointment of November 2006 appointment of Register came one month before Nasrallah's unscreened screed, making him the problem, not the solution.

Posted by TS at 06:53 AM |  Comments (2)

May 16, 2007

Post scanted early coverage of Gaza fighting

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Israeli fireman surveys rocket damage at Sderot high school on May 17. Reuters.

The Washington Post covered the first four days of renewed Palestinian Arab in-fighting in the Gaza Strip, in which reports said at least 40 people were killed and scores more wounded, with a two-paragraph news brief (May 14), a three-paragraph news brief (May 15) and an 11-paragraph Associated Press dispatch ("Deadly Fighting Resumes Between Hamas and Fatah," May 16).

In contrast, its smaller local rival, The Washington Times, reported on the resignation of Palestinian Authority Interior Minister Hani Kawasmeh and resumption of Hamas and Fatah clashes with a four-paragraph brief (May 14), a 16-paragraph news story by the paper's Israel correspondent, Joshua Mitnick ("Palestinian security minister quits as clashes flare; Blames both Hamas, Fatah for lack of authority to make reforms," May 15) and a 15-paragraph article by special contributor Ismail Rabah in Gaza City ("Hamas kills 10 in factional ambush; Escalating violence between Palestinians threatens unity government," May 16).

On May 16, The New York Times published a 28-paragraph news report ("Palestinian Violence in Gaza Kills at Least 16") and a 23-paragraph news analysis, "Reality Overtakes the Illusion of Unity in Gaza"), both by Steven Erlanger of the paper's Jerusalem bureau.

Post Jerusalem bureau chief Scott Wilson was visiting the States when Hamas and Fatah resumed fighting. He filed two extensive articles on the story's fourth- and fifth-day developments ("Gaza Fighting Intensifies, Leaving at Least 21 Dead; Israel Attacks Hamas After Rocket Strikes," May 17) and "FatahTroops Enter Gaza With Israeli Assent; Hundreds Were Trained in Egypt Under U.S.-Backed Program to Counter Hamas," May 18). The latter was featured on page one.

But for the first three days of renewed violence, the paper could have relied on other correspondents in the Middle East and nearby in Europe and/or more extensively on its wire services.

Illustrating Wilson's May 17 article were two color photographs of Arabs reacting to Israeli operations in the Strip. A black-and-white photo of Israeli bomb damage accompanied the May 18 dispatch. The Post used no photos illustrating Palestinian attacks on Israel from May 13 - 18 like the Reuters picture above, although Wilson reported more than 80 rocket strikes from May 15 - 17 alone. During the fighting, terrorist attacks seriously injured two people in the town of Sderot and halted normal life there. A May 16 AP dispatch covered the rockets' effect on Sderot in detail. Post reporting May 13 - 16 appears to be the latest example of downplaying news about Palestinian Arabs in which Israelis don't feature as the main problem.

Posted by ER at 04:50 PM |  Comments (3)

May 13, 2007

Apologia by Azmi's Brother

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Bishara is said to have received millions of shekels from a foreign party

Marwan Bishara pretends to speak for all Israeli Arabs in his International Herald Tribune Op-Ed about his brother Azmi:

For Israel's one million Arab citizens, allegations of treason against Azmi Bishara, a former Arab member of the Israeli parliament is the latest demonstration of a 60-year-old dilemma: How does an Arab live in dignity in a Jewish state without being treated as a strategic threat?

But there's at least one Israeli Arab who's not buying it. Khaled Abu Toameh writes in the Jerusalem Post:

Azmi Bishara not only betrayed the state, but also the 70,000 people who voted for him in the last parliamentary election. And the damage he has done to the cause of Israel's entire Arab minority is almost irreparable. . . .

The majority of Israeli Arabs would have liked to see Bishara fight for equality and better government services in the Arab sector. They would have preferred to see him exploit his position as an MK to obtain more funds for local Arab councils and municipalities and to absorb a higher number of Arab university graduates in the public sector.

But Bishara knew very well that his chances of winning media attention were not going to come from dealing with sewage or overcrowded classrooms in the Arab sector.

On the other hand, meetings with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah or Syrian dictator Hafez Assad, and later his son, Bashar, were the best means to make headlines. Bishara has repeatedly come under fire from many Arab reformists for allying himself with the Assads' ruthless regime.

Marwan's apologia comes on the heels of another by his brother, Azmi, in the Los Angeles Times.


Posted by TS at 08:38 AM |  Comments (0)

Lady Grey Finds Terror Mickey

Much to our surprise, the New York Times has bucked its old pattern of ignoring Palestinian incitement and yesterday reported on the on again, off again Hamas Micky Mouse, Farfur.

The paper also ran a brief AP item on Thursday reporting that the program had been pulled.

Posted by TS at 08:24 AM |  Comments (0)

Hamas Launches Newspaper

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The home page of Felesteen, Hamas' new newspaper

Hamas leaves no stone unturned in getting out its radical message -- for kids there's Mickey Mouse's evil twin (who just made a reappearance on TV), and for parents there's the Hamas Web site, the TV satellite station, and new this month -- a newspaper.

Pick your poison.

Posted by TS at 03:15 AM |  Comments (0)

May 10, 2007

Time Magazine Explores Motivation Suicide Terrorists

An interesting article in Time this month explores why Palestinian women — 88 of whom have attempted to suicide bombings since 2002 — turn to terror.

The article avoids the simplistic cliche that suicide bombers are motivated only by alleged Israeli mistreatment, and instead looks deeper into the issue to reveal that media incitement, threats and blackmail, personal issues, psychological manipulatoin, rage against Israel, and promises of paradise all have contributed to this phenomenon.

Read it all here.

Posted by GI at 02:59 PM |  Comments (0)

Accurate? Don't Bank On It

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When a major international body like the World Bank issues a report on conditions in the West Bank, the international press pays attention. Even if the report doesn't include much new information, but instead compiles material from sources like B'Tselem, Amira Hass, Peace Now, Bimkom, Amnesty International and the like. Even if the report at first glance shows up several inaccuracies.

And such is the case with the World Bank's report on movement and access in the West Bank released yesterday.

-- The report falsely claims there are "settler-only" roads in the West Bank. While there are West Bank roads prohibited to Palestinians, these roads are open to all Israelis -- settlers and otherwise, Jews and Arabs alike.

-- The report errs:

Under the Oslo Accords, the status of East Jerusalem was left to final status negotiations and therefore Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are currently considered neither citizens of Israel nor residents of WB&G.

In actuality, East Jerusalem Arabs are absolutely entitled to Israeli citizenship with full voting and all other rights, a fact that the Boston Globe corrected on Feb. 4, 2003. But the Mufti of Jerusalem warns east Jerusalem Arabs against becoming Israeli citizens.

-- The report relies on discredited Peace Now figures regarding the percentage of settlement land privately owned by Palestinians.

-- The report misleading on illegal building in Jerusalem, stating, for example:

[T]he application of zoning and planning provisions and the enforcement of building regulations is discriminatory in the Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem compared with that in the Israeli neighborhoods. . . . while 80 percent of building violations were recorded in West Jerusalem, 80 percent of actual demolition orders were issued for buildings in Palestinian East Jerusalem.

But as Justus Weiner writes in his book Illegal Construction in Jerusalem: A Variation on an Alarming Global Phenomenon:

These allegations are based on a disingenuous manipulation of statistical data. Such assertions ignore the critical difference, which typifies the types of violations in the two sectors. In the Jewish sector the violations are generally minor, such as enclosing a balcony without a permit. In the Arab sector, many of the violations are major, like constructing a multi-story building on public property.

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

LA Times on the Lessons of 'Farfurdom'

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A Los Angeles Times editorial today has a litigious recommendation in the wake of the Hamas Mickey Mouse clone scandal:

At the risk of encouraging lawyers, here's a lawsuit we'd love to see: Hamas getting dragged through some international court by Disney's implacable army of attorneys. If ever there were a real claim that the company suffered dilution to the value of its intellectual property, this is it. Farfur's brief stardom creates an opportunity to revisit the legal territory blazed by the family of Alyssa Flatow (who sued Iran's government for sponsoring terrorism) or even Morris Dees, who bankrupted the Ku Klux Klan via the civil courts.

Disney, which declined to comment on this issue, is understandably reluctant to give extra attention to a news-of-the-weird story. But there's an important lesson to be learned here — that you don't get to participate in modernity halfway.

Sadly, the resolution of Farfurgate teaches precisely the opposite. Faced with a media brouhaha, Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti suspended "Tomorrow's Pioneers," saying, "Any media outlet that breaks Palestinian broadcasting law will be penalized by the Information Ministry." So the take-away is that culture and ideas depend not on open exchange and legal protection but on the whims of a harried propaganda minister. Farfur's lessons for Palestinian kids may have been toxic, but his story's lessons for adults aren't much better.

The New York Times is still mum on the martyrdrom preeching mouse.

Posted by TS at 04:47 AM |  Comments (0)

Why CNN Pulled the Plug on Hamas Mickey

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CNN's Glenn Beck explains why his producer pulled the Hamas Mickey Mouse segment based on what turned out to be incorrect claims from unnamed CNN Arabic translators that one word was incorrect.

Posted by TS at 04:19 AM |  Comments (1)

May 09, 2007

Hass Takes 'Jewish-Only' Claims to New Heights

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Ha'aretz journalist Amira Hass today outdoes herself. In November 2005, she falsely claimed that there are West Bank roads, including highway 443, that are "Jewish-only." Today, she takes her Jewish-only fiction to a new level, writing:

This is a bureaucractic machine acting in an atmosphere that calls for increasing the close surveillance of all Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line, using excuses of secuity. It is acting in a society obsessed by demographic calculations and demographic separation. The roadblocks, the separate roads, the fence and the prohibitions against entering the country for everyone who is not Jewish are different levels in this system of separation.

Her intention here, like many other places in her op-ed, is unclear. Only Jews are allowed to enter Israel? Or only Jews are allowed to enter the Palestinian areas? In either case, Hass is obviously wrong.

As Hass' own Ha'aretz reported in December 2006, Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport is opening a mosque for the benefit of its Muslim passengers traveling in and out of the country. The Israel Airports Authority has also launched an Arabic Web site to better service Arabic speaking travelers.

As for entering Palestinian areas, it is illegal for Israelis to enter. Yet, as documented by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, tourists, including Palestinians living abroad and others, can and do come.

Posted by TS at 06:03 AM |  Comments (1)

AFP: BBC Gets Tape from Johnston's Captors

AFP reports today:

The BBC says it is studying the contents of a videotape purportedly from the kidnappers of its Gaza journalist who was taken hostage two months ago.

It was handed the tape, which apparently includes certain demands and pictures, one of which is apparently Alan Johnston's BBC identity card, by the Al Jazeera news channel. . . .

The tape was delivered to Al Jazeera in Gaza, and was produced by a group that calls itself Jaish-e-al-Islam, or The Army of Islam.

The BBC declined to comment further.

Posted by TS at 05:20 AM |  Comments (0)

AP Reports on Hamas' 'Mickey Mouse'

Kudos to the Associated Press for reporting on Hamas' incitement-spouting televised Mickey Mouse knockoff.

So where's the New York Times' story? At the paper of record, old habits die hard.

Posted by TS at 03:04 AM |  Comments (0)

May 08, 2007

Anti-Apartheid Preacher: Labeling Israel Apartheid is "Absolute Nonsense"

Malcolm Hedding, a minister who grew up in apartheid South Africa and preached against his government's racist practices, has forcefully spoken out against those that argue Israel is an "apartheid state":

"Calling Israel an 'apartheid state' is absolute nonsense," he insists. "You might have structures that look like apartheid, but they're not. The barrier fence has nothing to do with apartheid and everything to do with Israel's self-defense. There was no such barrier until the second intifada, when people were being murdered on the highways. And the country does not dehumanize its minority in the sense of apartheid. The issues are totally different."

Hedding believes Israel has more than proven its desire to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians, while granting political rights to its own Arab citizens within a liberal democratic system. Nevertheless, the Palestinians remain committed to Israel's destruction.

By contrast, he says, it was a tiny minority in South Africa that held power and once democracy came, the Nationalist Party that had dominated the masses disappeared.

"Israel is not trying to dominate the Arab minority or dehumanize it; she's trying to facilitate sovereignty in one way or another while protecting her own citizens from a program of destruction. In no way is it an apartheid system."

Read the rest of the article, including Hedding's message to Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu, here.

Posted by GI at 02:50 PM |  Comments (1)

"Peace & Justice" Doesn't Do Justice to the Truth

Seems the reps from the Peninsula (Greater-San Fran, CA) "Peace and Justice" Center (PPJC) have very little actual knowledge of the issues they feel so righteous about! A just person might consider checking his facts before he unfairly smears an entire country, but the error-filled discussion by PPJC activists that appeared on the local public access cable station includes mischaracterizations of UN resolutions and wild overstatements of the amount of land in Palestine owned by Arabs in 1948. They describe Hamas and Hezbollah leaders as "reasonable" and acting in "self defense", even though Haniyeh calls for the destruction of Israel and Nasrallah calls for "death to America" and the murder of Jews all over the world. And in their discussion of the causes of last summer's Hezbollah/Israel war, they make no mention of Hezbollah's Katyusha attacks on Israeli towns (wounding 5 Israeli civilians) that took place as a diversionary tactic during Hezbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers by another Hezbollah unit.

Here is a transcript (provided by Sheree Roth) of a portion of the PPJC discussion, along with my analysis in brackets. I include this analysis on our blog because there have been letters published this month (May 2007) in the Palo Alto Weekly that refer to what was said in this particular program by PPJC activists regarding Hezbollah. It's important for the public to know that the PPJC is not a source for reliable, factual or fair information.

Peninsula Peace and Justice Center taping

Other Voices

Lebanon and Gaza under Siege

August 1, 2006

9:20

Khalil Barhoum:

The iron fist policy of Israel over the past 2-3 decades in Lebanon has produced Hezbollah…. They are radicalizing the whole region over and over.

15:14

KB:

In terms of Israel insisting that they’re there (Lebanon) to help implement Resolution 1559, the hugest irony is that this comes from a country that has 10’s of Security Council resolutions against it that are waiting to be implemented.

[ All of the UN resolutions concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict fall under Chapter Six, and are therefore non-binding. Only Chapter Seven resolutions are binding. Even though they are non-binding, Israel has complied with resolution 1559 and 1701, while Lebanon has not. Lebanon has failed to assert its authority in southern Lebanon and has not disarmed Hezbollah. And Hezbollah obviously has not unconditionally released Israel's abducted soldiers.]

15:35

Paul George:

They’re the all time record holder in violating U.N. resolutions. We’re well aware of that.

[ They have not violated any resolutions, since they have all been non-binding. Nevertheless, Israel complies with any agreements it enters into. However, under the legal principle of estoppel, if there is an agreement between party I and P, and party P fails to comply materially with the agreement, then party I is no longer bound to fulfill its part of the bargain. ]

15:57

KB:

Another irony is that you have Hezbollah which is ingrained in Lebanese society. So what is it that the Israelis wish to do?... They represent 30-40% of Lebanon.


17:06

Rachelle Marshall:

Hassan Nasrallah spoke with Noam Chomsky recently. He’s not a radical.

Khalil Barhoum:

He’s not a lunatic

RM:

He’s not an Osama bin Laden. He’s a reasonable person. The same is true of Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister. He said whatever Hamas has pledged to destroy Israel, it’s not written in the Koran, he said. I think Nasrallah would go along with that. That’s a very significant statement.

[ Haniyeh has called for the destruction of Israel repeatedly. That's reasonable? Nasrallah has called for death to America and to all the Jews of the world repeatedly. And he frequently quotes a passage from the Hadith about judgement day not coming until even the rock cries out when a Jew is hiding behind it, "A Jew is hiding behind me. Come kill him!"

And just because Rachelle Marshall "thinks Nasrallah would go along with that," means absolutely nothing. Her belief that Nasrallah supposedly won't destroy Israel because "it's not in the Koran," is not supported by any facts, and it is in fact contradicted by Nasrallah's own words (that he does indeed want to destroy Israel) .]

28:40

KB:

Let’s assume that Hezbollah actually crossed the armistice line and captured these (Israeli) soldiers. Considering that Hezbollah is in a state of war with Israel still; considering that this is a legitimate military operation; you don’t have to be pro-Hezbollah to recognize that reality on the ground. You have to wonder about the reaction of the Israelis… It’s more like an eye for an eyelash. You have 2 Israeli soldiers who have been captured in combat.



[ They conveniently forget that Hezbollah launched rockets into Israeli communities, not just at military positions, during the attack on the soldiers. 5 Israeli civilians were wounded and Israelis in the north had to hide in bomb shelters, disrupting the lives of the entire north of Israel. If terrorists in Mexico sent Katyusha bombs into Texas and wounded 5 Texans, and the government of Mexico did nothing to arrest or stop the terrorists, I think the U.S. would take similar action as Israel to take care of the terrorists themselves.

Note also that PPJC forgets that Hezbollah didn't just abduct 2 soldiers in the initial attack on the patrol; they also killed 3 Israeli soldiers, on Israeli territory, in the illegal cross border raid. ]

I mean they were fighting too and you have a country who believes that the lives of 2 Israelis is worth what is happening now…. And they still haven’t had enough of Lebanese flesh. They want another pound and another pound… The question is not really whether they crossed the border or did not cross the border. The question here is whether this plan was just hatched overnight or as Rachelle pointed out it was on the shelf waiting to be implemented.

[ Countries under theat typically have plans "on the shelf" to cover probable eventualities. Since Hezbollah abducted and killed soldiers before in a cross-border raid, Israel would have been remiss not to plan for the next similar attack. ]

37:22

PG:

There’s also the point that these Hezbollah rockets cannot be fired from apartment buildings. Just plain and simple.

[ Absurd. The ignorance (or willful blindness) that this statement demonstrates is extremely revealing. A rocket can be launched from any location as long as the rocket has the ability to get into the air unobstructed. No problem from beside an apartment building or from the roof of an apartment building. (Be sure to check out the links in the report mentioned below. It shows numerous examples of apartment buildings being used to store weapons, and it also documents many examples of Hezbollah firing from apartment roofs or from beside the building.

There is also documentation that Hezbollah built a whole series of sealed additions to civilian homes, to store rocket launchers in. Residents were paid money to have this addition that they couldn't even enter. During wartime, the plan was for Hezbollah fighters to break through one of the walls of each room addition to get to the rocket launcher. They would either drag it outside to launch rockets into Israel, or they would destroy part of the addition's roof to enable the rocket to be fired unobstructed from inside the room.

This would draw Israel's fire into Lebanese civilian areas, gaining Hezbollah PR points and making Israel look bad. Or, if Israel did not return fire because of fear of harming civilians, it would provide cover for the launchers to continue to fire into Israel. This is why Israel called upon the civilians to leave the area, because they knew they needed to take these rocket launchers out and they didn't want to harm the civilians.

In the report below, you can see numerous photos of launchers being fired from civilian areas.

http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/human_shields.htm ]

40:37

KB:

The minute on June 25 an Israeli soldier was captured, again in a military operation; all hell broke loose (in Gaza).

45:44

PG:

About congress. There’s just not the political will there yet. It’s up to you to give congress that political will. All of you in the studio have a flier on your seat. It’s about the newspaper ad campaign that we’re doing…. That has the congressional switchboard numbers on it. Put it next to your phone. Don’t call once, call every morning. Get up and call every morning. That’s what we’ve been doing in my house. Every morning – the White House or Congress and tell them you want an immediate cease fire. You’re tired of this. That’s what you have to do. You have to act on this information.

47:00

Audience member:

I’m outraged on who is calling who a terrorist. I think we need to take our language back. Hezbollah and Hamas definitely have the right to be armed.

[Actually they don't. Under agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority, only PA forces are supposed to be armed. Militant groups were supposed to be disarmed. And UN resolutions 1559 and 1701 call for Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah. Hezbollah is acting like a state within a state with its own foreign policy and that is in direct contradiction to Lebanon's sovereignty. ]

A great number of Israeli citizens all around the country are armed. And many of these racist, Zionist Jews go around and shoot and kill Palestinian citizens and are never held accountable for it.

[ Israelis are armed because so many are in the army. So many are in the army because they have been constantly attacked and terrorized by the Muslim supremacists who refuse to live in peace with their Jewish neighbors. And Israeli citizens or soldiers do not go around randomly killing Palestinians. There's absolutely no proof of this at all. This allegation is just more example of inflammatory propaganda that PPJC and their gullible fellow travelers have never bothered to fact-check before repeating. ]

Hezbollah and Hamas definitely have the right to self defend…

[ Hezbollah crossed the border to attack Israeli soldiers who were on a routine patrol guarding the border. Hezbollah sent rockets into Israeli communities without provocation. That is not self defense.

Similarly, Hamas abducting Gilad Shalit in a cross border raid is not self defense. Sending rockets into Israel on an almost daily basis is not self defense. And sending suicide bombers into Israel is not self defense. ]

52:50

RM:

You can’t have a new Middle East without dealing with old grievances and Palestinians want their own land. All they’re asking – Hamas even – is 22% of original Palestine; the West Bank; Gaza; control of their own borders; control of their own water and control of the sea coast in Gaza and Israel is refusing to give it.

[ They are confusing Israel with Jordan. It is Jordan that has 78% of the original Palestine. So Israel and the Palestinians are sharing the remaining 22%. Israel has offered numerous times to share the land, but it is the Arabs who have refused any reasonable agreement. The Palestinians could have had their own state created at the same time as Israel was created. They could have been prospering and living in peace. There wouldn't have been a single Palestinian refugee if the Arabs had just opted for peace instead of violence and terror. But they did not. And that's not Israel's fault. How many more people will have to senselessly die before the Arabs finally accept a reasonable and just two state solution? ]
53:52

KB:

(In answer to the 1 pro-Israel questioner) I have to say if the Israel government’s intentions were half as benign as you describe them I bet you that the problem would have been solved between the Palestinians and Israelis a long time ago…. I have yet to see the Israeli people pressure their ‘democratically elected’ government to in fact proclaim once and for all that they are willing to give the occupied territories – that is the whole occupied territories – not what they choose to give as charity or from their good heart but in implementation of UN Security Council resolutions which is the 22% of what’s left of Palestine…. The reality is not one Israeli government has ever come out on record to say that if the Palestinians recognize Israel. If ABC… we will give up all the occupied territories. Not we will negotiate but we will actually implement UN Security Council resolutions and give up the West Bank completely. And that would be the 22% of original Palestine. From the Palestinian vantage point – they gave up 78% of their land to begin with in ’48.

[ Again his figures are way off. And he forgets that in 1967, after the 6 day war, Israel did indeed offer to give back the entire West Bank and Gaza for a genuine peace agreement. The Arab League responded with their "3 no's" - no recognition (of Israel), no negotiations and no peace. It is the Arabs who have always rejected any agreement. See here for Over 100 Years of Arab Rejectionism" http://www.mythsandfacts.com/Conflict/6/Rejectionism.htm#A2 And he continues to misrepresent what UN Resolution 242 says. As the diplomats who wrote the resolution have repeatedly stated, the resolution did NOT call for Israel to withdraw from ALL the territories, since the ceasefire line was arbitrary and not conducive to a secure and lasting peace. ]

In ’47 the Partition Plan Resolution 181 from the General Assembly called for the partition of Palestine. At the time, the Palestinians had the majority of the land – 92%

[This is utter nonsense. Hardly any of the land in Palestine was privately owned by Jews or Arabs. Arabs owned no more than 15% of the land. The Jews owned about 8.5%. The rest of the land was government owned land. That government land was proposed to be split between the proposed Jewish State and the Arab State in the 1947 UN Partition Plan. Keep in mind that the majority of the land is desert, so on that basis alone it is just silly to believe that the Palestinian Arabs had purchased land in the desert. Of course after the 1948 war in which the Arabs attempted to destroy the newly reborn Jewish state, Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip and Jordan occupied the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. ]

and yet the United Nations against the will of a member nation, people said no, we’re going to partition it. Give 56% of the land to 1/3 of the population which was recent immigrants against the will of the majority who are the European Jews. So, they got the 56% and then they defeated the vaunted Arab armies in ’47-’48 and finished off the Palestinians and got 22% more. That’s how they ended up with 78% of Palestine and that is Palestine until 1967


[ The Arabs started the war, and aggressors who lose, traditionally lose land as a consequence, to deter them from going to war again. But at any rate, in 1948, it's not Israel that gained the West Bank or Gaza. Jordan took over the West Bank and Egypt took over Gaza ]

57:02

KB:

So the Palestinians in ’67 lost the ’67 war. Whatever is left of Palestine, all of Palestine, came under Israeli control. So, anytime you hear about negotiations and compromise – the Palestinians are asking not for Haifa and Jaffa and Tel- Aviv. They are asking for the implementation of Resolutions 242 and 338 which call for the return of the West Bank and Gaza, which is the 22% of the land…

[ Simply not true. Hamas is asking for ALL of the land. They refuse to compromise. They still are committed to the destruction of Israel. And Hamas is the democratically elected dominant part of the Palestinian Authority government. Furthermore, the UN resolutions do not call for Israel to withdraw from ALL of the territory gained in the war. And using the word "return" rather than "withdraw from" is also inaccurate, since the Palestinians were never the sovereign rulers of Gaza or the West Bank. Before Israel, the last legal sovereign rulers of Gaza and the West Bank were the British Mandate (1921 - 1948) and before that, for 400 years, the Turkish Ottoman Empire (1517-1917). The Ottomans were not Arabs, although they were Muslim.

See CAMERA's website for details about the actual meaning of UN Resolution 242. www.camera.org . Put 242 into the search engine there. ]

Posted by LG at 10:55 AM |  Comments (0)

Hamasniks Tell Captors to Drop Islamic Justification

hamas extremists.jpe
Hamas, an Islamist terror group, advises Johnston's captors to drop Islamic justification. Hamas members pose in suicide bomber outfits (Photo by Kevin Frayer/AP)

The irony has a distinctly mideastern flavor. The AP reports:

Palestinian officials are trying to persuade the kidnappers of a long-held BBC journalist that they are mistaken in using Islamic justifications for their actions, an aide to the Palestinian premier said yesterday.

Ahmed Youssef, an aide to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said there had been contacts with the kidnappers of Alan Johnston, who has been held for 50 days, by far the longest time in captivity for a Western hostage.

"It's on the way to being resolved. It's being addressed religiously and ideologically," he said, but would not say whether he expected Johnston to be released in days or weeks.

Youssef said negotiators were trying to convince kidnappers that the extremist Islamic ideology they used to justify holding Westerners was incorrect. Last week Haniyeh suggested the kidnappers belonged to an Islamic extremist group.

An Islamic extremist group, as opposed to say, Haniyeh's Hamas, listed as a terror group by the U.S., EU and Israel and whose charter calls for Muslims to kill "the Jews."

The AP article also says that Youssef denies earlier reports about the captors' demands.

Posted by TS at 05:12 AM |  Comments (0)

LA Times Slow Learning Curve on 'Palestine'

Again and again the Los Angeles Times has erred -- and corrected -- the nomenclature for the Palestinian areas. The most recent case was Saturday (May 5):

Carter speech: An article in Friday's California section included a subhead saying former President Carter urged students to travel to Palestine. The area referred to is the Palestinian territories.

Kudos to the Times for setting the record; too bad Carter can't take the hint.

Today there is a new twist in the Times' misnaming of the West Bank. An article about an important archeological find, the discovery of King Herod's tomb, states that Herod "expanded theJudean empire from Palestine to parts of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria . . . "

Only King Herod died in 4 BCE and that land did not become known as Palestine until 139 years later, when the Romans defeated the Jews in 135 AD and renamed Judea after the Jews' ancient enemies the Philistines (who are not related to present day Palestinian Arabs.)

Posted by TS at 04:34 AM |  Comments (3)

May 07, 2007

Johnston's Captors Make Three Demands

Johnston-demands-web.jpg
Johnston's kidnappers demand the release of Sajida Rishawi, a failed suicide bomber implicated in the November 2005 bombing in Amman, which killed 57

Palestinian Ma'an News Agency reports today that the Gazans holding BBC reporter Alan Johnston have finally issued their demands:

The first demand is to be fulfilled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and is for the captors to be illegally given an area of land. The sources gave no further details about this demand.

The second demand is to be met by the Jordanian authorities and is the release of the Iraqi female captive, Sajida Rishawi, who is accused of planning the explosions in the Jordanian capital of Amman on the 9th of November 2006.

The third demand is for the BBC to pay a ransom of $5million.

(Hat tip: IMRA)

Posted by TS at 03:40 PM |  Comments (0)

Not Your Average Mickey Mouse


mickey.jpe

Palestinian Media Watch provides another good reminder about what drives Palestinians to become suicide bombers. In most of the world, Mickey Mouse isn't associated with Islamic supremacy, hatred of Israel and the US and support of "resistance" – the Palestinian euphemism for terror, but Farfur, the Palestinian Mickey knockoff is teaching kids just that.

It's enough to catch any kid's attention, but don't bank on the New York Times'.

Posted by TS at 02:43 AM |  Comments (0)