Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Today already feels like the longest day ever since I started reading blogs.

I'm concerned about what it would mean for Israel if Kerry wins. My primary impressions of Kerry revolve around his apparent lack of clear positions, his reputed reliance on polling, and his tilts to the far left of his party. To me this recalls Ehud Barak, who managed to do a fair amount of damage to this country.....

Monday, November 01, 2004

I emailed Pajamahadeen Arabic language expert "Ribbity Frog" for his opinion on the interpretation of the Osama video and whether it threatens states that vote for Bush. He responds:
What can I tell you? Even a piss-pot state like Palestine is referred to as "dawlat falestiin" "The State of Palestine". "wilaaya" in the singular is used for a local state, as far as I know. Certainly, Arafat would never refer to it as "wilayat falestiin", particularly since it has the overtones of a local autonomous district subject to a greater empire, and would I think imply a degree of subordination to a greater body. My Arabic dictionary defines it as

"sovereign power, sovereignty; rule, government. administrative distrcit
headed by a vali, vilayet (formerly under the Ottonman Empire); provence (= division of a country, e.g. Tunisia, Algeria); sovereign state (in a federal
union)." etc.

Slipping back into a more demure academic posture, he adds:
The United States is called in Arabic alwilayaat almuttaHida - wilayaat is plural of wilaya, state (the -aat ending is like feminine plural -ot in Hebrew) and muttaHida means united, from root waHad, 'one' (= Hebrew

The Arabic "ayy-" is etymologically equivalent to the element "ey-" in Hebrew words such as "eyfo", "eyzo", "eylu" or Biblical "ayyekka" where are you. etc. It means "which", "whatever". Hence "ey + po" (which+here > where), "ey + ze" (which+this > which one).

ayy in Arabic can which which or whatever, hence any or every. ayy wilaaya means "any state" (eyze medina) or "whichever state". The Slate notes the inconsistency in the English translation, but there isn't such a difference really. (Whichsoever state).

I hope this helps.

Friday, October 29, 2004

I called a friend about going to see Omri Mor/Omer Avital at the dumpy but pleasant Artel tomorrow night. He said he's not sure because his unit is on high alert due to Arafat's situation.

This is interesting because my friend is a civilian employed by the security forces in a technical area.

A lot of the media here (especially Jpost) reads as if Arafat had died already.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

There's some weird stuff on Google News. But not too much about Kassam missiles or Peter Hansen.

This comprehensive post by Dave at Israellycool does what the MSM should be doing: evaluate the competing claims of the IDF and UNRWA chief Peter Hansen.

Hansen, of course, has shown that he has zero compunctions about making provably false statements in the knowledge that he won't get checked up on.

Friday, October 01, 2004

The "aid workers" who were attacked by masked men near Hebron belong to the "Christian Peacemaker Team", which is associated with the ISM. So take anything that they say with a grain of salt.

A quick googling shows that someone coincidentally named Kim Lamberty was placed on probation in connection with some Mumia-protest in the US.
The first column by new Jpost editor David Horovitz is here. Horovitz sounds windy and self-important. Jpost will likely begin tilting left, which leaves Israel without a major right-of-center media outlet.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

So Russia is talking about preemptive attacks on terrorist bases, and British Foreign Minister Jack Straw says:
“I think the reaction is an understandable one by President Putin,” ... “The United Nations charter does give the right of self-defence and the UN itself has accepted that an imminent or likely threat of terrorism certainly entitles any state to take appropriate action.

The ICJ claimed that there is no right to self-defence from a threat not associated with a foreign state. Amazing hypocrisy - you expect that from Russia, but it's particularly notable coming from the UK.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The PA's media center is describing the Hamas stronghold attacked yesterday by the IDF as a "summer camp" (link).

Sunday, August 22, 2004

These pictures of the security barrier were taken from highway 6 (ie. the Israeli side) near Netanya and Kfar Saba. This is an area where a couple of kilometers separate large West Bank villages from the Israeli suburbs and towns north of Tel Aviv. The suicide bombers that entered Netanya generally came from Tulkarm, and in June 2003 a 7-yr. old travelling in a car on highway 6 was gunned down near Qalqilya.

The one above is from the Qalqilya/Kfar Saba area. From the highway there are a few observation towers visible and this is one of them.

The picture above is from around Netanya/Tulkarm.

This one is actually from fairly close up. Near Tulkarm the Israeli side of the barrier extends a couple of meters above a grassy hill next to the highway.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Serious roadblocks around the city today. Rte. 443 south was backed up for a long long way as they seemed to be stopping every vehicle.

It's interesting that Al-Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility for yesterday's bombing which killed only Palestinians. You'd think they'd want to keep quiet about it.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Google news search indicates that the European media has almost zero interest in the evidence that the PA used EU aid to finance suicide bombings.

From the Jpost report: A German Green member of the European Parliament, Ilka
Schroder, had earlier complained of "hard lobbying" by the commission to prevent
the inquiry. This, she said, included a whispering campaign to taint the group
as an "Israeli front" determined to block aid to Arafat.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

So the new path of the fence (following the decision of the Israeli supreme court) goes within 100 meters of Mevasseret Zion (report).  Mevasseret is a large suburb of Jerusalem just off the TA highway.    One time I went off-road biking from Jerusalem to the reservoir area (which is very close to Mevasseret) and our experienced off-road biking guide/wire service journalist told us that we are actually quite close to the Green Line and that sometimes shepherds from nearby Arab villages come by.

Friday, July 23, 2004

According to an article in Jpost print edition, the security fence as currently constituted will incorporate 15000 West Bankers on the Israeli side.  The figure of 237,000 mentioned by the ICJ includes East Jerusalemites who hold Israeli residency.
Terrific article by Yossi Klein Halevi on the ICJ opinion.  Some excerpts (emphases added):
...The real meaning of the court's decision, then, is to delegitimize not Israel's right to self-defense but its right to claim any territory, even for self-defense, over the Green Line.

The danger of that decision is to create the legal groundwork for an imposed solution that would force Israel back to the 1967 borders, even without a peace agreement - Yasser Arafat's dream scenario.

And so the war Israel needs to fight now isn't so much over the decision itself but its premise: that all land beyond the 1967 border belongs by right to Palestine.


In determining that Israel has no legitimate claim to any territory it won in 1967, including, presumably, Jewish neighborhoods built in east Jerusalem, the court has, in effect, overturned UN resolution 242, the basis of the land for peace formula, which doesn't refer to Israel's return of "the territories" but merely "territories."


IN DETERMINING the route of the fence, Israel needs to be guided by four considerations. The first is security. If topography, say, dictates that the fence be built on a hill rather than in a valley, then that is the army's decision. Security is also the logic for walling off Jerusalem and preventing the city from being "shared" with - and destroyed by - an armed Palestinian authority.

The second consideration is demography: ensuring there are as few Palestinians as possible on our side of the fence.

The third is also demography-related: ensuring as many settlers as possible on our side of the fence. In the absence of a peace agreement, only isolated settlements caught on the Palestinian side of the fence should be uprooted.

The fourth is psychological: preventing the Palestinians from perceiving our withdrawal as a victory for terrorism. In losing part of the West Bank, the Palestinians and the Arab world generally will understand that terrorism has a price.

If those considerations are followed, about 10 percent of the West Bank will be incorporated into Israel by the fence.

Until Ehud Barak proposed ceding 92% of the territories at Camp David and then 96% at Taba, most observers took for granted that Israel wouldn't return to the 1967 borders. One plan popular on the Israeli Left envisioned a Palestinian state on only 89% of the territories. Tom Friedman was even less generous. Before Camp David, he wrote a column called "75 for 75" - by which he meant that 75% of Israelis would support withdrawal from 75% of the territories. At the time, Friedman considered that formulation a reasonable basis for ending the conflict.

Two competing views of the 1967 borders have now emerged within the international community. Along with the Hague decision is the American position, formulated by President Bush and endorsed by Congress (with a few exceptions, such as John Kerry, who didn't show up for the Senate vote). According to the new Bush Doctrine, Israel will not be expected to withdraw to the 1967 borders. And Palestinian refugees will return only to a Palestinian state.

That doctrine undermines the two key elements of the Palestinians' long-term strategy to undermine Israel's viability: first, forcing Israel back to the Green Line, and then overwhelming the Jewish state with refugees - through international pressure on Israel to increase the number of refugees it willingly accepts and through an invisible "return" of Palestinians slipping across the border and settling in Arab Israeli communities, as tens of thousands have already done in recent years.

The fence puts a brake on both those processes. It marks the security line that may well become Israel's political border. And it prevents the infiltration of Palestinian refugees into Israel.

That is the real reason why Palestinian leaders see the fence as a disaster and why they have mobilized their politicized allies on the international court to stop it. And that's precisely why Israel must cling to the fence and its current route.
The point about Thomas Friedman's "evolution"  is interesting because it illustrates how the often monolithic  perspective of the "elites" gets shaped.  If the Palestinians demand something for long enough and violently enough, sympathy and understanding will erupt, and in not too long the press and the European governments will fall into line.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Good analysis of the ICJ deliberations here.  Particularly interesting are the shamelessly unobjective remarks by the Egyptian judge, and the British judge's offhand remark that the ICJ didn't actually consider the issue seriously.

Friday, July 09, 2004

It would probably good to wait until I have a better informed opinion before I write about the ICJ ruling. But here goes anyway...

a) The ICJ makes no pretense to being apolitical, yet the Europeans think that it can still administer "justice". That's bizarre - justice is supposed to be "blind".

b) I really doubt that the ICJ looked particularly closely at where the fence goes, what it's supposed to do, whether it is effective.

c) I've heard that in American law, it's considered unjust to prosecute someone for an offense that generally goes unenforced. Not that I think the fence is an "offence", but the ICJ's clucking at us rather than India's fence in the Kashmir (to take one example), is an example of its manifest unfairness. "We can't create Utopia everywhere, but let's start in Israel" seems to be their attitude. They don't mind if their unrealistic dogmas create chaos - provided that the chaos is far from them.

Afterthought: One of the ICJ's clucks was that Israel should pay compensation to Palestinians whose property was confiscated. I wonder if the ICJ decision notes that Israel already did this (though payment was often refused).

Also, I wonder if the final decision will include some sort of patronizing remark about how "dialogue not fences" is the way to prevent terrorist attacks.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

About 1 minute ago: Felt a minor earthquake (I'm in Tel Aviv).

Update: Haaretz online mentioned it about as quickly as me. 5 on the Richter.

Monday, June 21, 2004

LGF linked to these photos of an anti-security-fence demonstration. Seeing those ISM "peace" activists throwing punches at patient IDF soldiers sends me into a rage.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I'm still busy with things.

Rte. 443 goes thru the West Bank and takes a few minutes off the trip from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. At the northern (mostly perfunctory) IDF-manned roadblock there's now a large sign that says (approximately) "Welcome to Unit such-and-such - winning fighters."
Open thread (for general discussion)

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Last night T. and I went to a bonfire with some friends at the treed area adjacent to the Jerusalem theater. Lots of other groups there with their own fires; also a lot of very wholesome looking teenagers.
Anne Bayefsky on Reed Brody and Human Rights Watch:
...What HRW did do was substitute the voices of alleged victims for universal human rights standards.

If leading international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights/Human Rights First, chose not to apply those standards when anti-Semitism stared them in the face, there is little reason to believe their claims that they now apply those standards to Israel in the same way they apply them to every other state.

Bret Stephens on the Israeli left:
...For those of my readers who politically are somewhere on the Left, here's what the Right thinks of you: Deep down, you have no red lines. You'd rather go down as the morally spotless victim than the morally encumbered victor. You'll sell your birthright not for a mess of potage, but for less: the retrospective pity of future generations.

I know this because it reflects my own suspicions. Because when Rabin and Peres and Barak spoke of red lines, the Right knew they weren't really red lines - and they were right. Because Beilin won't shut up about how close he was at Taba. Because I watched Avraham Burg sucking up to Yasser Abd Rabbo at Davos by cracking anti-Israeli jokes and pleading with his hosts to be invited to future conclaves of the great and good....

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Bonfire for Lag B'Omer

Lag B'omer, the Hebrew calendar date which marks the anniversary of the passing of Kabbalist R. Shimon bar Yohai (and falls out next Saturday night), is observed by lighting bonfires.

In my largely yuppified Jerusalem neighborhood, there is a group of Hasidim that take the centuries-old tradition very seriously - and build a huge fire in a vacant lot.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

A while back an acquaintance tried to enlist me into the Likud. I've lost touch with said acquaintance, but I'm sure that he opposes the disengagement proposal as he's a heavily ideological fellow.
Open thread (for general comments/discussion)

Friday, April 30, 2004

They put up roadblocks on Emek Refaim road tonite. That might mean a "specific warning".
Recently a number of blogs (British ones in particular) have gotten Draconian about comments.

I've thought about this a fair amount - my new criterion is that I will delete comments that in my view encourage discussions of the sort that most people won't want to read.


I have realized that I opened a real can of worms by considering comment moderation, and that I don't have the time or will to deal with it. Hence the new blurb at the top of the comment box says that comment moderation is up to you the commentor.

I'm grateful to the person who suggested open threads for ongoing general debates, and hope that as a consequence there will be informative on-topic discussion on the regular threads.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Sounds like the Likud rank & file is leaning away from the "disengagement" plan. On the radio this morning Roni Milo (former MK who rejoined Likud after cofunding a defunct centrist party) was making predictions of economic chaos if the plan is rejected. That's a sign of desperation on Milo's part.

If the plan is defeated then the Likud would be likely replace Sharon somehow (though Sharon has not said that he would resign). Netanyahu seems to played his cards pretty well recently by exhibiting lukewarm pseudo-tough-guy support for the disengagement.

A lot of people think that once the Likud has "voluntarily" accepted the plan, the US will be free to gradually water down its statements regarding Palestinian refugee campees and borders (eg. this very Haaretz-y article which mentions that European leaders have been uttering the words "right of return" a fair amount lately, incidentally demonstrating that siding with the Palestinians is the only guiding principle of their policies).

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Take a look at how Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch tries to defend his group's actions at the 2001 Durban conference (here).

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

This article says that the US is now "soft-pedaling" Bush's stance on refugees and borders in discussions with Arab and European nations. But an anonymous source claims that the US is telling Israel that such talk is just "marketing". Cynics think that there will be gradual backpedaling on the part of the US.

A CNN crew was briefly detained for filming in the "no photography zone" near the Dimona nuclear reactor (report).
The billboard advertisements against the Sharon disengagement plan are well-done - in particular the one that says "You vote 'for', you get Peres" definitely strikes a chord. People do believe that Sharon is not Peres, Beilin, or Barak; but the ad makes you think twice about whether you really know for sure.

Monday, April 19, 2004

On Army Radio this AM, far-left MK Avraham Burg was going on and on about how the Rantisi hit would just create more Palestinian radicals, and how the real problem is that PM Sharon has no program (though Sharon's program is now crystal clear if you ask me).

Burg's every word exudes pompousness, but his most pompous remark was something about how there needs to be a US gov't that will "tell Israel what it needs" - ie. force Israel to do what Avraham Burg wants because Burg can never get elected.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

This conference is titled "The Politics of Humanitarianism in the Occupied Territories" and has Huwaida Arraf - the evil queen of the ISM - chairing one panel and appearing in another. Peter Hansen, the baldfaced liar who runs the UN organization responsible for Palestinian "refugee" camps is appearing too.

The list of topics and speakers demonstrates yet more conflation of humanitarian concerns with political activism and sympathy for terrorism (and it's topped off with boring "post-modernist" jargon provided by Prof. Adi Ophir).

The conference is happening up the hill from here at the Van Leer Institute on Tues.-Wed., and will be viewable online. Perhaps someone who is set up with TotalRecorder can record it.

Particularly I'd like to know whether representatives from organizations like Machsom Watch (who seem to sensibly agitate for maximally-humane occupation) or B'Tselem will respond to the likes of Arraf.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

My instant response to the Bush-Sharon summit: Bush's stance on Palestinian "refugees" is basic common sense; the vague statement about settlement blocs will make sense to anyone who has travelled from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv on Route 443.

What's truly revolutionary is the way in which Palestinian maximalism and violence are actually setting them back diplomatically. Finally.

Update: jsinger notes in the comments:
Incidentally, remember all the fuss about whether the Geneva Accord conclusively renounced the right of return? As though the fact that the Palestinian signatories claimed it didn't wasn't a plain demonstration that it didn't?

So now Yossi Beilin's counterparts are all on CNN screaming that the right of return may never be given up. Is there any question remaining about what ratifying that treaty would have brought?
This is about the only article I've seen that takes a serious look at the EU investigative report that failed to find any evidence of PA funds reaching terrorists.

The EU should put the report up on the web.
Anne Bayefsky records the stance of Human Rights Watch at the 2001 UN Durban conference:
As we arrived at our meeting the chief Durban representative of Human Rights Watch, advocacy director Reed Brody, publicly announced that as a representative of a Jewish group I was unwelcome and could not attend. The views of a Jewish organization, he explained, would not be objective and the decision on how to vote had to be taken in our absence. Not a single one of the other international NGOs objected.
Update: Reed Brody responds here, but doeson't contradict Bayefsky's basic points:
....In Durban, and its year-long run-up, we campaigned to ensure that the WCAR would be about more than the Middle East. ..... A great achievement of the WCAR process was the unprecedented mobilization of victims of racism from communities around the world, such as the so-called untouchables of South Asia, the Roma of Europe, and blacks in Latin America.

With over 3,000 victims groups present in the pre-WCAR forum of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had limited ability to moderate the language of chapters for the NGO declaration. Each chapter was drafted by the affected community, including not only Palestinians but also such groups as Tibetans, Kurds, and Dalits. Many of these chapters were factually supported, powerful documents, but others were not. Our refusal to participate in the voting on the statement and its chapters, and our failed attempt to cast the document as a collection of the "voices of the victims" rather than as a text endorsed by all, was intended precisely to avoid giving a stamp of approval to all parts of the document.

Bayefsky, however, claims that we "said nothing" as the final NGO statement was put together on September 2, 2001, and lent legitimacy to its inflammatory statements about Israel. In fact, as the Post (and virtually every other newspaper in the world) reported on September 3, "The New York-based Human Rights Watch condemned the resolution." The Post quoted me as saying, "Israel has committed serious crimes against the Palestinian people, but it is simply not accurate to use the word genocide and wrong to equate Zionism with racism."

Prior to the declaration's adoption I personally spent hours trying to persuade Arab and Palestinian colleagues to amend this and other language. ....

Brody doesn't address Bayefsky's claim that he announced that her Jewish group was "not objective" and could not participate in the NGO meeting. So we can regard the account as confirmed. And Brody's condemnation of the resolution was made afterwards and not during the proceedings as Brody tries to suggest:
The declaration, adopted by a majority of the 3,000 delegates from 44 regions to the World Conference's Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) forum -- a broad-based summit of groups from around the world involved in human rights issues -- shocked Jewish participants, and many walked out of the meeting.
Some other international human rights groups who were part of the NGO forum, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, moved to distance themselves from the declaration.
Reed Brody, executive director of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said: "Israel has committed serious crimes against Palestinian people but it is simply not accurate to use the word genocide and to equate Zionism with racism ... it is now a matter of damage control."

I'm thinking of giving the reader comments a hiatus.

Friday, April 02, 2004

It won't surprise anyone that the EU's conclusion that they haven't been funding Palestinian terrorist activities looks like a farcical whitewash from here.

All reports that I've seen are quite vague as to the actual ponderings of the commission, but they seem to have worked hard to find doubts that they can give the PA the benefit of; commissioner Emma Udwin can't even feign comfort with its efforts:
We are not soft on terrorism. We have checked out every allegation that has been brought to our attention. We have not been able to establish a direct link between our money and terrorism. We welcome the fact that the parliamentarians wanted to look at it. There isn't any form of financial assistance that is 100 percent risk-free. That is as true in the Palestinian territories as it is in Cornwall

These days it seems that PA apologists are increasingly impervious to rational arguments; to the small number of sensible lefties out there, I would emphasize how it's totally insane to compare the situation here to familiar situations in Europe ("Cornwall"?). A reasonable starting point assumes that everything is different.

Separately: Sounds like Jpost editor Bret Stephens is looking for a new job. Perhaps he finds that the news here has gotten too repetitive, or maybe he doesn't like working for a funny-shaped paper that needs to make the text of its daily Wall Street Journal page really skinny.
From a rather standard Aviv Lavie article about a film that interviews Israelis and Palestinians whose children have been killed in terror attacks and in IDF operations:
Arbel says that the main difference between the Israelis and the Palestinians was their attitude toward the deceased: "I was astonished to see that in most of the Palestinian homes there is a photograph of the child's body, sometimes with the bullet in the head. Can you imagine framing a picture of your child who has been shot?"
Seems to me that this reflects both martyr-reverence and a desire to keep the anger and drive for revenge alive.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Dave at IsraellyCool takes a look at some new attempts at self-justification from the International Solidarity Movement. Be amazed both at Dave's sharp wit and the ISM's nauseating tolerance for Palestinian terrorism.
Blogging lull will continue for a bit more.

Here's a good article on where things stand with the Gaza withdrawal proposal. Interestingly, some Americans think that they can turn Gaza into an island of democracy on Iraq/Afghanistan model.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

According to Haaretz, the 2 Palestinian "policemen" were killed during the foiled attack at the Erez checkpoint because they had refused to let the Islamizake's jeep through.

If this account is correct, it's probably the first instance of real confrontation between the PA and the terrorists since Oslo. It's almost certainly the only instance since Oslo broke down.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Daniel Zamir's trio is appearing tonight with guest pianist Omri Mor at the "Jazz Blues Tel Aviv" festival.

I saw Omri Mor play with Omer Avital a while back and he was quite amazing, though more stragiht-ahead than Zamir.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

7 killed and lots injured. The bus bombed was the #14 northbound, next to Bell Park. They're calling it Rehavia, though really it's where Rehavia ends and the German Colony and Baka begin. It's also not far from downtown, and Arabs (presumably from the Old City) often frequent the park.

I didn't listen to the radio much. I just need to know where it happened and how bad it was (and since it was rush hour, whether the bus was headed towards or away from my neighborhood). I don't need to hear the reports from the scene, the hypotheses about how the bomber got through, or the broadsides at the Hague proceedings.
I'm off to work now, so I'll have to hear the details on the radio while I commute.

I still hear sirens.
I heard sirens about 5 minutes ago and tried to ignor them.

Haaretz says that a bus was bombed in Rehavia; it was probably further south (ie. closer to the German Colony).

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Here's yet another article on how the European press tends to frame just about every event here in anti-Israeli terms, and is willing to believe just about any anti-Israeli accusation.

The days are numbered, however, for this kind of idiotarianism; or so you might think if you read Jeff Jarvis' reports on Emerging Technology in media.

Monday, February 09, 2004

The planned path of the security fence has changed again (report).

This German woman is nostalgic about the 80s - her look back then was down-to-earth: Adidas, jeans, sweatshirt, and " 'Arafat-scarf' in black/white".

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Zeev Schiff says that the IDF would in fact leave Gaza after the removal of the settlements, but that they would return to respond to rocket fire etc. It's not clear whether the IDF would cease to man the border with Egypt, and there are lots of problems regarding how Gaza could possibly be self-sufficient. It's also likely that the anticipation of evacuation will lead to increased terrorism, so as to create the impression of "exit under fire".

Schiff thinks that Sharon should have done this when Abu Mazen was first installed. Though I would note that if he had done so it would not have been construed as a "unilateral move", but rather as one of those pointless "confidence-building measures".

The media today has a lot of discussion about how the Gaza settlements would be totally levelled when they are abandoned. MK Ahmed Tibi called for them to be left behind for occupation by Palestinians in refugee camps - but this is simply posturing, as the Palestinians have long opposed any attempts to improve conditions of the "refugees" to the extent that they might be willing to stay where they are.
Maariv print edition reports that the Italian newspaper Il Foglio printed graphic images of the recent bombing of the Jerusalem #19 bus that were taken from the Israeli Foreign Ministry website. Maariv says that the images stirred up controversy (and criticism from the Chief Rabbi of Rome), but also stimulated unprecedented sympathy and some openness to the notion of the security fence.

Il Foglio looks like a right-leaning paper, and hosts a couple of blogs which link to the English blogosphere.
Apparently in Sweden they're also talking about bans on hijab, but without the cosmetic step of banning other religious "symbols" as well.

Israel would never restrict hijab, but it's interesting to think about how the Europeans would react if someone here suggested it.

Correction: It's Norway, not Sweden.
I'd appreciate it if commenters would choose nicknames that at least sound like names of people.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I agree with Imshin's equivocal thoughts regarding the removal of settlements from Gaza.

People should note that removal of the settlements is not the same thing as IDF withdrawal.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Thurs night I drove thru the Aza/Ha-Ari intersection and so no indication whatsoever of the bombing that happened in the AM about a block away, though I heard that there were flowers placed at the site.

I've noticed that leftists tend to be very "visual" people - if we didn't "clean up" the bombings so quickly, they might not have the gall to challenge the security fence in the Hague.

This blog now has an RSS feed.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

This AM was something out of Spring 2002. A friend of T.'s called just as I was on my way out to work, and then we read about the bombing at Haaretz. I left for work as usual and tried to think of how to avoid the consequent traffic (I couldn't, since my commute crosses Derech Aza where the bus was bombed).

The latest news is 10 people killed.

I lived in an apt. very close to today's bombing from '96-'99. One morning In 1998 I went into a shop around Aza/Arlozorov and a woman told me that Pres. Clinton's motorcade had passed by 1 hr. earlier (and that he waved).

People abroad don't seem to notice much of a difference between the Camp David, Taba, and Geneva plans. In the same way they don't notice the difference between the situation in early 2002 (when the PA controlled most of the West Bank and these things were happening about 3-4 times a week) and the way they are now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

This summary of the findings of the Hutton inquiry is striking to me in that the inquiry actually attempted to make an objective evaluation of the interpretive and editorial mechanisms of a major news organization. I thought that noone aimed at objectivity anymore, but just at portrayal of the different "narratives".

Now if only some well-respected non-partisan body would do the same thing to the reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian situation from Reuters, NYTimes, BBC, Guardian etc.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I'm still here The New York Times ran a report a while ago suggesting that the new security fence (combined with the IDF policy of raids against "militants") was preventing Palestinian suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.

Apparently the possibility that the fence is actually a good thing was disturbing to the editors at the International Herald Tribune, so when they ran the NYT report, they added a nonsensical paragraph postulating that the terrorists had declared an unofficial cease-fire. Turns out that the IHT regularly does this sort of this thing with Israel-related news(article)

Thursday, January 22, 2004

I'm back from a work-related trip to the US. In addition to being pretty busy, I've been continuing the semi-detachment from current events that I enjoyed while I was abroad. But the weekend papers will snap me out of that, no doubt.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I'd like to offer a special welcome to the BBC trainees on Day 1 of their "Investigative Research on the Net" course (who came here to see a "Weblog").

Good luck in your work with the BBC, and I hope you'll see how much there is to learn from the blogosphere.

Don't infer anytihing from the fact that they put this site next to a Nazi bulletin board and an anarchist mailing list. I'm just an average Israeli - I write about the news and my personal experiences.

And please follow the Beebs' advice: don't look for dates in chatrooms or expect to find drugs online.

More: Note that the BBC tells its trainees that Indymedia is a "specialist site" for "finding news".

Friday, January 09, 2004

From an interview with Sheikh Hashem Abd al-Rahman Mahajana, mayor of the Israel-Arab village Um-al-Fahm. (and member of the Islamic Movement party):

What do you think about the idea of annexing Umm al-Fahm to the Palestinian Authority?

"Absolutely not. Ninety-three percent of the city's residents are against that, and I am one of them. This is our home, we are citizens like everyone else, and we have it good here."

What's so good here for you? What about all the complaints of persecution, oppression and discrimination?

"It's all true, as you know. Yet our situation here is still far better than it would be if we were in an Arab state. I admit it. I also say it in talks abroad. It's a fact. That doesn't mean that there is nothing to improve. There's plenty."

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Tony Judt's next article According to this Haaretz report, senior Likud officials rallied around Ariel Sharon at a party convention last night - even those such as Limor Livnat who have been critical of Sharon recently. The report describes Sharon's confrontation with a vocal faction led by Moshe Feiglin, and gives passing mention to an eccentric "vote contractor" named Uzi Cohen, who made remarks promoting "transfer" of the Palestinian population.

Of course, Chris McGreal in The Guardian portrays "Central Committee member" Cohen as a major Sharon opponent at the forefront of some kind of grass-roots movement. Is calling McGreal a "lying scum" too harsh?

But Al-Jazeera trumps The Guardian by making Cohen into a Knesset member and "influential figure" in Likud.

Update: Ali J. changed its headline (it now says "Israeli official" instead of "Israeli MP"), but the article still says that a proposal on "ethnic cleansing" was "tabled" etc.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Swedish media apparently lionized Gustav Fridolin's attempt to interfere with the building of the security fence, though a center-right Swedish newspaper was more critical.

Fridolin's sojourn with the ISM and Anarchists Against the Fence was apparently paid for by an educational grant from the Swedish gov't. Fridolin defended the grant saying that it was supposed to be a fact-finding trip in which he would meet with both Arabs and Israelis who agree with his non-factual preconceived views.

Fridolin incorrectly claims that the IDF used live ammunition to clear his mob, and also asserts that Rachel Corrie was deliberately murdered in order to test the extent of the international outcry. Fridolin also wants Sweden to suspend trade agreements with Israel and encourage Swedes to boycott Israeli goods.

It's quite fascinating to see the ISM and its friends getting funding for its unarmed but violent activities under the pretext of educational programs (ie. this one, Echoing Green, and Adam Shapiro's encouraging kids to exploit and then abandon heavily-subsidized "Jewish heritage" trips). It's probably a natural step, given the youth of most of their volunteers.

The mainstream media often treats them as a peace group (though not always), so it's important to vote for the International Solidarity Movement at the LGF "Idiotarian of the Year" poll.