Wednesday, August 06, 2003

This article from WaPo is the first that I've seen that describes what is really meant by "settlement outposts":
Outposts generally begin as a dirt road to a single cargo container, cell phone antenna or water tower. Then houses are erected, but infrastructure typically remains rudimentary for the first residents. It is only when such additions as a community center, nursery school, playground area or paved roads emerge that an outpost begins to take on the characteristics of a settlement, though some settlement opponents consider any outpost with people living in it to be a settlement.

The "homes" are generally portable trailers. The one "outpost" that I've seen was on a hill just outside of Efrat and had about half a dozen trailers from what I remember. The first time I saw it there was a dirt road. About a year later it had been paved.

When the IDF takes the outposts down, it's not difficult for the settlers to put them back up on a different hilltop. That's the reason I personally don't appreciate why the outposts are such a major political issue ...

So how many of the 105 outposts that are said to currently exist actually have what WaPo quite reasonably considers "characteristics of a settlement"?

Huwaida Arraf responds to accusations that the International Solidarity Movement has used violence and cooperated with terrorists. Her central point is the bit about how "Palestinians are resistors, so they can't be terrorists. ... the IDF are terrorists" (and note she is addressing an Israeli audience). The rest of her self-righteous posturing can't conceal her lack of objection towards what most people would term terrorist groups, or her support for destructive behavior.

Interesting article by Zeev Schiff on the attempts to get Egypt and Jordan to return their ambassadors to Israel.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Did he really say this?

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians can carry out all the terms of the road map peace plan, due to political constraints on both sides, Interior Minister Avraham Poraz told the Foreign Press Association yesterday.
The IDF shot and killed a Palestinian who was planting a bomb roadside near Tulkarm (report). Here's the official Palestinian news agency report on the incident, which neglects to mention the bit about the bomb, and makes it sound like the IDF just shot him at random.

The PA also claims that Fatah's gunning down of an Israeli family driving near Bethlehem on Sunday was its "reaction" to a supposed Israeli police killing of a Palestinian taxi driver earlier in the day - though the Israeli and foreign media have absolutely no mention of any such incident.

When ISM-types talk about all the supposed Israeli atrocities and then can't name a single specific incident, it's probably because they've been hearing a lot of this kind of stuff.

More: The fellow who was shot near Tulkarm was a longstanding member of the Tanzim named Nihad Qassem (report).

Monday, August 04, 2003

Translation of the Israel Prisons Service webpage that links to the list of Palestinian prisoners whose release is scheduled:
A Security Organization with a Social Purpose

Notice regarding release of Palestinian prisoners who are residents of the Judea/Samaria [ie. West Bank] and Gaza regions

In the process of the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority the government has decided to release Palestinian prisoners and administrative detainees. Below is the list of those who are marked for release.

The list includes the name of the prisoner, ID number, sentence, chapter under which he was sentenced, court case number, name of the court, and date that he would be released were it not for the reduced sentence. Additionally, the list contains the names of administrative detainees who are marked for release.

It is to be emphasized that this list does not include any prisoner or detainee with "blood on his hands" and that release of prisoners and detainees is conditional upon their signing a form of obligation not to return to violent activity in the future.

[phone numbers for further information]

Attorney Hayim Shmuelivitz
Legal adviser to the Prisons Service
Haaretz bulletins says that there was a gunfight between the IDF and the PA near the Egyptian border in Gaza. Earlier 4 anti-tank missiles were fired on an IDF position there. Also, Palestinians opened fire on the IDF near Ramallah.

The Guardian ("Palestinians condemn Israel's prisoner release list"):
The figure includes 183 inmates convicted of activities ranging from stone-throwing to membership of "terrorist organisations", and 139 "administrative detainees" held, without charge, on security grounds

In truth, the list (Hebrew link) includes plenty of people charged with owning and distributing bombs and weapons (eg. "#137 Marzuk Awud Mahmoud Abu Naim - possession of a bomb, contact man for placing a bomb", "#166 Wadia Mahmad Hasin Kabaja - Firing a gun at a person", etc.).

Not to suggest that the rest of the Guardian article is any less vile.

Why should Israel release these dangerous people? Certainly it doesn't work as a "confidence-building measure" or indication of good will....
Israel has released the names of the latest set of prisoners that it is releasing. Who are they?

Reuters says:
Israel has said it will not release those involved in attacks on Israelis, although it has agreed to free 210 Islamic militants who were involved in political activity.
"political activity"?!? According to the Associated Press :
Israel has agreed to free only a few hundred, and has said it will not release prisoners directly involved in violent attacks.

The majority of those being released were convicted of stone throwing, membership in an illegal organization or harboring fugitives...
Note those two words "the majority"...

Haaretz, unlike the AP and Reuters, may have actually looked at the list (provided in Hebrew HTML and Excel for families of victims who wish to appeal the releases):
Despite the ministerial committee's decision that no prisoner with "blood on his hands" would be released, some of those slated to be freed on Wednesday were convicted of participating in attempted terror attacks, shooting attacks, planting explosives devices and throwing grenades or Molotov cocktails.
Abroad there seems to be hudna-euphoria. Apparently in the IDF also, but I don't think there's a palpable sense of hudna on the Israeli street. One factor that's keeping the terrorists in check is the imminent prisoner releases (which they don't want to endanger).

Meanwhile, in addition to yesterday's shooting of a family by Fatah, two Israeli teenagers are missing, and a third claims he was almost kidnapped.

Why does the media refer to the hudna as a "unilateral ceasefire" (eg. here). It's a bilateral truce agreement between the PA and the bloodthirsty jihadis; and it includes a tacit agreement from Israel to refrain from operations against the leaders of Jihad/Hamas/Al-Aqsa Brigades.