Friday, May 31, 2002

This report by the American ADL is a catalog of all the glib, over-the-top, and false pronouncements made by European governments, media, and others about Israeli conduct in the Jenin battle.

This Jpost weekend article describes the small group of officials supporting Israel within the European Parliament. They number about 50 (out of 626), are mostly non-Jewish, and include Belgian Olivier Dupuis, Italians Marco Panella and Emma Bonino, and Frenchman Francois Zimeray.

The most interesting points of the article: The profiled pro-Israel MEPs are mostly left-of-center activists who view Israel as a nation committed to democracy and human rights. But their support of Israel is still quite EU-centric:

"Israel cannot both continue to make hazardous concessions, and guarantee the life, liberty and prosperity of its citizens, without the comfort of entering a wide international bloc such as Europe, to which it is already attached through historical heritage and trauma. The EU should offer Israel the political prospect of becoming a full member of the European Union."

Several indicate that a major motivation for the EU's perplexing attitudes against Israel is its desire to be in the driver's seat:

"The secret to unlocking the EU's foreign policy is that there is no EU foreign policy," [Dupuis] insists. "Rather, many in Europe don't understand how it is a small country like Israel won't stand to attention when the EU issues instructions. The EU wants Israel to recognize its superpower status, but Israel won't oblige by letting the Europeans act as mediators in the peace process. This unsettles the pride of European policy bigwigs who long for the days when Europe ruled the world."

They also say that Israel appear to have little interest in trying to get its message across at the EU. (Hmmm ... why could that be?)
Some new exchanges about Jenin and about Ariel Sharon on the Letters page.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

There are continuing terror alerts around town and also in Northern Tel Aviv. An unprecedentedly thorough roadblock is at Jerusalem's north-end (details) and the IDF has closed 2 Arab villages and is conducting searches (details).

Newspapers today have photos of the 3 fresh-faced teenagers murdered Tuesday night in Itamar by a gunmen from Arafat's Fatah group and also from the funeral of the grandmother/granddaughter who died in the Petah Tivka bombing. Beit Furik - the village where the Itamar terrorist originated - is under curfew (punitive measure?).

Authorities say that the Itamar attack shows that Jenin-based terror organizations have begun to regroup and that the IDF will need to re-enter Jenin soon. After the first shootings on the basketball court, students began to follow the "protocol" that the school has for a terror attack, but some students were gunned down as they ran to the dining hall(disturbing details).

Yesterday the talk on the radio was about the return of the terror wave (though only a couple of days ago we were hearing that the actual number of attempted attacks was down 85%); the opening of telephone "support lines" (in Hebrew,. Arabic, Russian, Amharic); the immanent-or-always-destined-replay/inadequacy/failure of Operation Defensive Shield; posturing among Sharon, Labor leader/Defensive Minister Ben-Eliezer, Labor challenger Haim Ramon regarding the building of a "long fence" with the West Bank.

Today on the radio it was: Mondial, Mondial, Mondial. That is to say the world soccer final: Israelis flying to Tokyo; university students cutting classes. Some of my co-workers are also totally occupied with this.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Youth of Islam - a resource guide for Muslim teenagers is more disturbing that the average Islamo-fascist site because it's geared to teenagers.

Many of the kids posting on this international BBS have Jihad-themed avatars (eg. a Palestinian from East Jerusalem chose a burning twin tower). In the "Current Affairs" forum, a troll called Bozo The Clown started a pro-Bin-Laden thread which was mostly taken seriously.
A Palestinian gunmen murdered 3 teenagers in Itamar. A sniper shot 2 middle-aged Israelis as they drove in the West Bank, killing one of them (details)

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Today I drove past the Pi Glilot fuel depot. Actually, I've passed it many times but never really paid attention to it. From the Ayalon freeway, what you see is about 10 enormous "silos". A couple of the silos are painted with pictures of butterflies, others with sunflowers. There's also a couple of smaller egg-shaped metal containers and a long filling station.

Not that we don't have more important things to worry about, but the US dollar has climbed to more than 4.93 shekels. For some unfathomable reason, rents in this country are in USD, so I've seen my rent go up almost 20% since I first signed my lease 15 months ago.
Jerusalem police are on high alert and have set up roadblocks - expecting terrorist infiltration to the northern part of the city from either East Jerusalem or Ramallah (report)

Monday, May 27, 2002

Jihad bombing at a mall entrance in Petah Tikva. Right now they're saying 50 wounded.
Update: the latest is 2 dead: a 56-year-old woman and her 18-month-old granddaughter
Chris Matthews of MSNBC says he's interested in what Israelis really think. Tomorrow he'll be at a symposium on "New Trends in the International Media – Implications for the Middle East" at Tel Aviv University - so you intelligent and articulate readers can hear what the global media thinks of us and offer your views in kind.
Adam Shapiro, the pro-Palestinian activist who stayed in Arafat's under-siege compound, has wed his Palestinian bride (report):
Adam Shapiro, 30, of New York and Huwaida Arraf, 26, of the Detroit suburb of Roseville were married Sunday at St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in Troy, Michigan.

About 300 relatives and friends attended the ceremony, in which a passage from the book of Genesis was read in Arabic and the groom followed the Jewish tradition of stepping on a glass.
This is deliciously ironic: The Jewish custom of stepping on a glass is meant as a reminder that joy cannot be complete as long as the Temple in Jerusalem remains desolate.

Sunday, May 26, 2002

Time Magazine has tried to clarify a caption on a photo of Israeli students that it ran previously (report).

Basically, Time has now replaced the original baldfaced fabrication with an ambiguous sentence that could be interpreted to mean either their original fabrication or the original caption as supplied by Reuters. Read the report and you'll see what I mean.
Zeev Schiff describes the rumored American-Saudi attempts to apply pressure to Arafat and concludes that they failed. According to Schiff, Saudi prince Abdullah made an angry call to Arafat after the May 10 Rishon bombing.
The IDF has said that it caught a Reuters photographer at a Gaza checkpoint last Wednesday in possession of a hand grenade and that he was assisting a terrorist organization. Reuters and an international press organization (IPI) are demanding his release and accusing the Israeli government of censorship (details)
Tel Aviv University (still intact following Thursday's failed bombing of Pi Glilot) is hosting a discussion this week on "Changes in the International Media" with Chris Matthews of MSNBC and David Ignatius of the International Herald Tribune.

Can anyone advise me regarding how worthwhile it might be to hear Matthews and Ignatius?
Glib Swedish and Belgian TV hosts advised Eurovision song contest viewers not to vote for Israeli Sarit Hadad. (details). The Swedes said that many thought that Israel should be banned from the contest for "what it is doing to the Palestinians".

The Belgians told viewers not to think that Hadad's wearing an all-white outfit meant that Israel wanted peace.

It's news to me that Eurovision costumes make political statements - but I guess to make the message clearer she should have worn a t-shirt that said "Camp David - Summer 2000". Which leads to a terrific idea ....Israelis complain about how hard it is to make our views heard in Europe, so maybe we can piggyback our primary political messages on our (admittedly limited) cultural exports:

1. When Macabee Tel Aviv plays soccer matches in Italy, each player's jersey could bear the date of a broken Arafat ceasefire - thus conveying Israeli skepticism regarding Arafat as a peace partner.

2. When Israeli jazz musicians leave New York to perform in Paris, they can play extra long duets to symbolize the futility of negotiating as long as the PA makes no proposals of its own and steadfastly insists on resettling all the refugee camps into pre-1967 Israel.

Other ideas?