Friday, March 21, 2003

Prof. Amatzia Baram says that if Iraq attacks Israel it will be within the next couple of days (article).

An ISM-er who was among "dozens" of stone-throwing youths was wounded by rubber bullets in Nablus (report).

In Jpost print edition Barry Rubin notes that the fact that the US is targeting a foreign leader now provokes nary a peep from anyone. Jpost print also has a photo of a 5-year-old showing his gleeful siblings how to drink through a straw while wearing a gas mask.

Visit RibbityFrog for lots of info on what the Arabic media is saying about the Iraq situation..
"Israel warns Web sites on war coverage" This is one of those stories that's only interesting to the foreign media: the IDF censor is said to have contacted two Israeli BBS sites and warned them not to publish classified information about the war. The writer then insinuates this is sinister and invokes a Reporters Without Frontiers report.

The IDF censor should obviously be paying more attention to us blogs than those sites mentioned in the article, which are about as informative as the average Usenet group.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Those blogspot banner ads are now Google-esquely selecting ads to match blog content.

Anyone know a good place for (blog) image storage?
This afternoon on Emek Refaim (which is in some respects the "new downtown" ), only about 1 in 10 non-schoolkids was carrying a gasmask.
Rachel Corrie's ISM group has confirmed what I argued earlier: that the photo of Corrie near the bulldozer (captioned by Reuters, Christian Science Monitor, and others as being "before" or "moments before" she was run over) - was in fact taken hours before. So there's no photo of what happened before the accident - only the eyewitness account of ISM member Joe Smith who says she jumped in front of the bulldozer which then plowed her over with dirt.
Jurgen Hogrefe of Der Spiegel magazine recently appeared on a German radio program called "Meet the Press" and claimed that the Mossad asked German intelligence to ensure Germany doesn't protest if Israel starts expelling Palestinians from the territories when the war in Iraq begins (report).

That's more evidence that a lot of "important" Europeans (and journalists) have zero understanding of what's going on here and get all their information from Palestinian propagandists.

Zeev Schiff assesses what's likely to happen to Israel during the war with Iraq (report) He's essentially calm about the prospect of being attacked, and he mentions that Israel's own spy satellite is of great assistance now.

Schiff also presents the recollections of a source who was present in the US cabinet at the end of the first Gulf War. Reportedly, Norman Schwarzkopf favored a continued assault on the Iraqi Republican Guard and the ousting of Saddam, but Colin Powell's contrary view prevailed (article)

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

I'm still busy taping everything (hope this stuff is actually polyproplylene and 30 microns thick). T. tried on her gas mask but wasn't sure whether to attach the filter: too bad we didn't just check Gil's and Ribbity's blogs.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

The Israeli version of Google exhibits Tel Aviv-o-centrism by removing the "Happy Purim" banner while it's still Purim in Jerusalem (BTW Google renders the "I'm feeling lucky" button into Hebrew as "More luck than wits").

Gil notes that Israblog, the Israeli blogging site, is dressed up for the holiday as Blogger.
This article quotes Joe Smith of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity movement who describes how Rachel Corrie and her fellow "activists" would confront IDF bulldozers:

Smith, originally of Kansas City, Missouri, .... said the fact that the IDF had previously taken pains not to hurt the group made him feel safe. It is precisely because the group has so much experience playing a game of chicken with the bulldozers that it understands this was not an accident.

Many members have stood in front of a bulldozer as Corrie did and then climbed up the mound of dirt, precisely so that the driver could see them. "You look into their eyes and they stop," Smith said.

So the ISM itself admits that Corrie deliberately jumped in front of the bulldozer, confident that it would stop because IDF bulldozers have always stopped in the past.

But in fact it's obvious that the driver must be considered guiltless until there's serious evidence to the contrary - just as any driver would if someone jumped in front of his vehicle.
People who arrived at this site from the Christian Science Monitor might want to take a look here (scroll down) or (a bit too thoroughly) here for some info that the CSM left out about Rachel Corrie and the blindly pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement.

Someone needs to write a concise summary of the quality part of the blogger writing on this. One thing that's clear is that the bulldozer did not run over her directly as some articles have said. Haaretz quotes a doctor in Gaza hospital to the effect that bulldozer covered her with dirt first, which would explain how she lived long enough to make it to the hospital. That would mean that the photo which the CSM says is "moments before" could not in fact have been moments before.

Haaretz (and some other accounts) said she stepped in front of the 'dozer expecting it to stop - though one ISM account says she fell.
RibbityFrog alludes to an interesting irony: in '91 Saddam surrendered on the Jewish holiday of Purim in what was seen as an appropriate parallel to the story of the Book of Esther. And 12 years later the war is beginning on Purim.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Homefront defense and anti-aircraft reservists are being called up (report).

The gas mask distribution center at Malha mall is predictably swamped. A friend who was there says that a large percentage of the people now updating their gas mask kits were Arab.
Bush's speech is at 3 AM Israel time. We'll do the sealed room (mostly) before then even though the official instructions won't come down until after the speech.

According to this article, the IDF's assessment is still that there are "probably" no scud laaunchers in western Iraq, but that the population should be prepared anyway.

Ynet, quoting "security sources", puts it a little differently: there is very little chance that Israel will be attacked in the first days of the war. This is because Saddam does not/did not want to reveal his long-range missile capability, which could have been used as justification for attacking him.
The British gov't is advising its subjects to leave "Israel and Jerusalem" (report). Do they just mean "Israel, including Jerusalem"?

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Sgt Stryker describes a "peace activist" infiltrating an American airforce base.

It's unfortunate that there aren't AFAIK any Israeli bloggers who have serious combat unit experience. I asked my friend S., who was just moved from tanks into a Bio/Chem defense unit to write something about his recent reserve duty, but he said he wouldn't be allowed to (his new job involves decontaminating victims of a bio/chem attack, and for preparation they wear their protective suits for long periods and play basketball in them etc.).

Much of the work in the reserves is guard duty - sometimes in dangerous places. Someone was recently telling me about guard duty at an army base in the West Bank that was always being approached by "shepherds" or other figures that he was certain were looking for weak spots in the base's security.
An American woman was killed after she ran in front of an IDF bulldozer to try to stop it from destroying the house of a terrorist in Gaza (report). It won't be long till the International Solidarity Movement starts claiming that the IDF ran over her deliberately.

More: LGF has a photo from the site of the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace which seems to be Corrie burning a flag with some Palestinian kids.

More on the ISM from Jpost:
In December 2001, 70 activists used their bodies to protect Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Ramallah headquarters from IDF tanks. During last year's stand-off at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, ISM members broke into the church to act as human shields for some 200 Palestinian terrorists hiding inside.

Ynet says that senior doctors have been quietly requested not to leave the country in case they are needed when war with Iraq begins.
Haaretz can't seem to regard Purim as a nice innocent holiday. This photo looks like Marilyn Manson, though at least the caption reads "A young girl in fancy dress, ahead of the Purim holiday, which starts Monday night". I'm also grateful that they replaced the photo they had this morning of some grown men wearing diapers.