Friday, September 27, 2002

Jpost (print edition) says that one of the attacks whose planning is attributed to Mohammed Deif is the attempted car bombing of a bus full of Israeli schoolchildren in October 1998.

To see how times have changed, take a look at what Time magazine said about that attack:

Later that week, a member of Hamas, the largest Palestinian Islamic group, nearly blew up a bus filled with the school-bound children of Israeli settlers in the Gaza Strip. (An Israeli army jeep escorting the children cut him off, absorbing the blow of his 170-lb. car bomb. The bomber and one soldier died.) "[Arafat] was really panicking about it," said an official who saw him afterward. "Had it been the 40 schoolchildren, it would have been the end of the peace process as we know it."

Back in 1998 people had higher expectations of Arafat.... Nowadays what would it take to force the EU or the columnists in the IHT to concede that the Palestinians have torpedoed the "peace process"?

This photo might shed light on what happens in some cases where Palestinian kids get hurt or killed by the IDF (via LGF)

Thursday, September 26, 2002

There are conflicting reports about whether the IDF helicopter strike in Gaza killed Mohammed Deif. The IDF is saying that they got him (report).

Update: Currently it looks like Deif was only injured but 2 Hamas fellows in the car with him were killed (report).

Palestinians say that 40 bystanders were injured, including 15 children - but see Imshin. 6 people were said to have been seriously injured. This wasn't the Shehade hit, but it wasn't exactly the Yihya Ayash hit either.

Here's a background article on Deif. He organized the Hamas "military" branch into a secretive and cell-oriented command structure, and had personal connections with Mohammed Dahlan that enabled him to stay out of jail even when the PA was doing its revolving-door terrorist roundups. Deif is an expert bombmaker, and is said to have had advance knowledge of all attacks conducted by Hamas from Gaza and given instructions and briefings in at least some cases.

Ynet (Hebrew link) adds that Deif planned the kidnapping of soldier Nachson Waxman and the murders of soldiers Aryeh Frankenthal and Shahar Simani. Israel repeatedly asked Arafat to incarcerate Deif; Arafat's customary response was to ask his assistants: "who is he?".

Hamas spiritual leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi seems a little dense. How does Rantisi react when Israel rockets a car carrying a senior terrorist leader and 2 other Hamas officers?
"We are determined to wipe out Zionist terrorism. They are targeting civilians. They are targeting children. There are at least 15 children among the wounded here," said Rantissi.

This article on "radical left" group Gush Shalom is good but misses the basic lack of sanity that floats around Uri Avnery/GS, with its conspiracy theories and disingenuous accounts of Camp David/Taba et al.

As a student I came across Uri Avnery's old magazine Ha'olam Hazeh from the 60s at the University library. The one thing I remember is a sarcastic interview with a little girl who said that she wants to grow up to be a mother in a big city - the point was that she was bourgeois and didn't have good socialist values.

Barry Rubin thinks that optimism about democratic developments in the PA is premature (here).

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

At the moment, I've got nothing to say about Muqata or the Security Council. Here's what I did today ...

Visited the Sorek Stalactite Cave near Beit Shemesh.

Went to visit a friend who lives in a small community just over the Green Line (ie. in the West Bank) near Modiin. From his 3rd floor balcony there was a nice, hilly, and (of course) rocky view which includes 2 nearby Arab villages (Bilin and Kafr Niame maybe). My friend bought his apartment there because it was affordable; today he would have bought elsewhere, but if his community were evacuated he thinks that would probably be decently compensated. Travelling in the area is mostly safe, but there is one highway that passes Arab villages and is avoided at night.

A road was plowed on the first of the few hills that separates the settlement from the nearest Arab village. My friend says that this is to "claim" the hill so that Arab villagers don't begin building on it. I saw an article in the UK Independent that about an Arab who was - they said - being evicted from his home to make way for a settlement, but that's not what generally happens. The largest settlement (and the one I'm most familiar with) is called Maale Adumim - meaning "red cliffs", which is what was there beforehand.

In the evening T. and I went to see a concert by an American-Israeli group who were trying to channel Pearl Jam and had a couple of songs that were vaguely political (after the fashion of vaguely utopian political rock songs) - one about a child killed in crossfire and another one about "not giving up" (ie. hope).

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

It's a holiday week here, and it seems to have turned into a bit of a blogging pause ... Kalle, Dash, Alisa, and the rest of you guys are having some really interesting discussions in the comments sections that I hope to catch up with soon.... Someone suggested creating a discussion forum that would live outside of the individual blog items - opinions?
I had meant to call my old friend C. in Tel Aviv before Rosh Hashana, but didn't manage.

I finally did call after I heard that her husband was on the bus that was Islamikaze-d last Thursday. He actually sounded OK on the phone, but would be receiving some treatment for minor injuries and trauma. He had jumped through a window when the boom happened, and it was only when he looked back at the bus that he saw the extent of what had happened.
A study by Arab academics says that the entire GDP of the Arab world (250 million people) is only 5 times that of Israel (6 million people). (report)

Israel is still pumping water into villages in south Lebanon, Wazzani conflict notwithstanding (report).

Monday, September 23, 2002

Salah Elayan, aide to Palestinian legislative speaker Abu Ala, has been arrested over accusations that he threatened to kill Jpost reporter Khaled Abu Toameh unless the latter divulge the source who told him that Ala sought a meeting with PM Ariel Sharon (report)

Been real busy for the last day or so. Hope to be back soon.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Army Radio's "Last Word" had a fairly predictable discussion about the latest siege on Arafat's Muqata compound: Right-wing guy thinks that we should have ejected Arafat to Tunisia a long time ago (there is some thinking here that this is what's underway); left-wing guy thinks that we're ultimately not accomplishing anything, and the world thinks that we're being cruel and oppressive.

According to Zeev Schiff , the government sees this as a further step towards marginalizing Arafat and removing "hardcore" militants (like Tawfiq Tirawi I would guess) from the picture. The other operation that was considered in response to the last week's bus bombing - a wide offensive against targets in Gaza - was ruled out because of the Iraq situation. "Defense sources" are quoted as saying that Arafat has been attempting to squelch voices within the PA that seek to discontinue violent conflict with Israel.