Interesting stuff this week! In North Carolina the Feds busted an American Islamist terrorist group.
Imagine that, if you can. And the leader was a “white guy” if you can believe it. Not Pakistani, or Arabian, but North Carolinian.
Of course, if you are a reader of our great novels, One Time Messengers or Terrorist Babe you already are more up to speed on how these things can work. (That “great” adjective is what we hear from our readers, not arrogance.)
If you aren’t one of our readers yet, we urge you to go over to the right lower corner of the home page and order both. We work hard to keep it all accurate with what’s happening around the world, keep the bedroom scenes and foul language out and keep the action moving.
Whether in the US or in Israel, we regularly hear folks who attend our lectures asking “When is the next novel coming out?!” They are definitely hooked on the Jake Crabtree series with all the Solutions.com team.
Mixing locales in different parts of the US and all over Israel (the next novel is virtually all in Israel, except for a chapter in Turkey – this one will stun you!).
We have fun writing the novels and do a bit of teaching along the way, plus quite a bit of humor as some of our characters can be funny while at the same time definitely being “in the hunt.”
7/30/2009 - Read the Bill; Radicals; And Crooks
READ THE BILL!
Why is ANYONE SHOCKED!
If you are in the States, or follow what is happening as King Obie works overtime to turn America into Amerika with all the socialist frills, then you have likely heard that one after another of the new King’s legislation has been passed by the Democrats (without Republicans signing on) – and without anyone reading the proposed laws!!!
Well, here is a short piece of video that will tell you that there are more than enough idiots getting elected. And not just in the White House.
For those of you who object to my use of such descriptive words, then I urge you to never use them when you present your international weekly column. No apologies here.
Just copy the following url into your internet browser and click the play icon on the little screen.
THE IDF HAS A LONG MEMORY AND A LONG REACH
According to the J-Post this week, “An Aksa Martyrs Brigade terrorist wanted for a string of attacks was arrested by IDF special forces overnight Thursday in the Askar refugee camp in Nablus, the army said.
“Mahmoud Rashad Abu Kishak, whose arrest came in a joint IDF-Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) operation, had been wanted by security forces over attacks he perpetrated both in recent years and during the Second Intifada, said the military.”
For all the talk of impending peace negotiations, PA security forces being on duty, etc., there are still “hunter squads” operating in the West Bank areas under PA control.
The terrorists may be relaxing a bit as they don’t see the green IDF trucks and Hummers, but they better sleep lightly. The good guys are still after those who murder Israeli citizens. Bravo!
JERUSALEM IS ISRAEL’S!
So said former Israeli Ambassador to the US, Dore Gold this week. “"Israel's sovereignty of the Old City and the rest of Jerusalem is obviously not up for discussion." (J-Post)
Gold is the author of one of the finest books you will ever read on the City of God, The Fight for Jerusalem. If you only read one book this year (after my own, of course ), then get this one.
In fact, let me give you a couple of suggestions for your reading:
Dore Gold’s book on Jerusalem
Michael Oren’s books
Alan Dershowitz’s the Case for Israel (I don’t like his social attitudes, but this is a great book for reference and for wising up the anti-Israel crowd. You will likely enjoy it.)
Natan Sharansky’s The Case for Democracy
Amy Dockser Marcus’s Jerusalem 1913. I’m not quite finished with this, but it is a marvelous book if you love Jerusalem.
That should keep you busy until Fall. Look for more as the year passes.
SHALOM OFFERS “SHALOM TALKS”
The following article about a press conference hosted by our friends at The Israel Project in Jerusalem has a lot of meat in it.
It’s good reading and we’re glad that Mr. Shalom spoke out as he did. There is some bad-blood between him and PM Netanyahu but they seem to be on the same page here and that is good news for the country.
It takes two to tango, bitter Shalom tells Palestinians
Jul. 23, 2009
RON FRIEDMAN , THE JERUSALEM POST
Vice Premier and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom lashed out at the Palestinian Authority on Thursday for not accepting Israel's offer to resume talks unconditionally.
At a press conference for foreign journalists organized by The Israel Project in Tel Aviv, Shalom said Israel wants peace not only with the Palestinians but also with Syria, Lebanon and the rest of the Arab and Muslim world.
"But as the saying goes, it takes two to tango and, unfortunately, the Palestinians are as of yet unwilling to engage with Israel," Shalom said.
He surmised that the Palestinians were hesitant to enter a dialogue with Israel despite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's standing invitation to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, because they were afraid they'd be forced to make compromises.
"If you'd like to find out if Israel is really willing to move towards peace, you should come to find out, put all the core issues on the table and find out if Israel is really committed or if it's only slogans," he said.
Shalom went on to lament the rise of Hamas in Gaza and described the current situation as much worse than four years ago, when the then-Likud government [which then became Kadima under Sharon-EDM] made the decision to disengage from Gaza.
"We thought we could move towards peace, we thought it would help the Palestinians rebuild their economy and we were even planning how to do it, with the Palestinians, with the international community, but the outcome was, of course, very negative," he said.
Shalom spoke about the cold peace that exists between Israel and the Arab world, saying that most of the blame was with the Arab countries, but that he was willing to accept some blame for not succeeding in lifting all the bureaucratic and security related obstacles that stood in the way.
"I believe that now that we came to power and established the new ministry for regional cooperation, it will lead to positive outcomes," he said.
Shalom said his office was currently focusing its efforts on projects like a new industrial zone in Bethlehem in cooperation with the French government; an agricultural project in Jericho in cooperation with the Japanese government; an industrial zone near Jenin with the German government and a new tourism attraction on the Jordan River at the site where Jesus was said to be first baptized.
[Note this: it is in the works as we speak-EDM]
He also spoke about a tourist package his ministry was working on that would enable visitors to go to Jerusalem, Jericho, the Jordan River, Nazareth and other biblical sites, which he hoped the Jordanian government would also be involved in.
Shalom said that while economic peace couldn't replace diplomatic efforts, it was a good place to start because history showed that when there were economic benefits, the Arab countries found a way to work with Israel.
"If there is a benefit, if there is an economic interest in the Arab side, they are willing to move towards more understanding with Israel," said Shalom.
Shalom called for more European involvement in the region, but conditioned it on a less biased approach.
"I believe that the Europeans should play a key role in the peace process, but in order to play a key role they should have a more balanced attitude towards the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
"You can't accept 100% of the Palestinian's demands in advance - a Palestinian state, the '67 borders, Jerusalem as the capital and some of you even accept the principle of the Palestinian right of return - and at the same time to ask to become mediators and facilitators," said Shalom.
On the subject of Iran, Shalom spoke about the common danger that Israel shared with the moderate Arab countries in the Middle East.
"In our view we should empower and embrace the moderates, but at the same time we should weaken and isolate the extremists. I believe we are wasting crucial time by waiting for the Security Council to take its own resolutions to enforce sanctions on Iran. I don't believe Russia and China will join," said Shalom.
"Taking real measures against Iran is necessary. The clock is ticking. And we should all know that Israel cannot live with the idea that Iran will hold a nuclear weapon," he said.
Following the address, Shalom responded to questions from reporters and spoke about the need for economic peace to continue parallel to a political agreement.
"It looks like the Palestinians are concerned that if they will move towards the implementation of some of the projects or we engage in economic peace, it might mean that Israel will abandon the political dialogue or ignore their demands. I think it's nonsense. I think we can do it at the same time," said Shalom.
GRENADES FOR DAHLEN WEDDING IN GAZA
Mohammed Dahlan (formerly known as “Fatah’s Gaza Strongman” but not since he fled at Hamas’ takeover of the Strip) attended his nephew’s wedding in Gaza. Some one there “fragged” the place.
Hamas surrounds hideout of suspects in wedding attack
Hamas attempts to arrest members of salafist group suspected of throwing grenade at Dahlen wedding
A Hamas force surrounded a home in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis Wednesday afternoon on suspicion that several operatives from the salafist movement of Jund Allah were hiding at the site.
Gaza is still reeling from an explosion that took place at the wedding of Mohammad Dahlen's nephew late Tuesday night. As the groom prepared to take the stage a grenade was thrown at the crowd and several gunmen opened fire, wounding the groom and 51 others.
Hamas' Interior Ministry announced it had arrested three suspects in the case, and sent its security forces to surround a house in were additional suspects were hiding.
The suspects initially refused to come out, and have threatened to blow up the house. According to Hamas, the affair is part of a religious struggle by the operatives against what they view as "corrupt weddings." A respected sheikh is attempting to settle the differences between the parties involved.
Dahlen's affiliates have been subjected to threats by Hamas due to the political struggle between the organization and its rival, Fatah. Two years ago, Hamas accused Dahlen of attempting to assassinate their prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, and in January 2007 Hamas operatives attempted to murder Dahlen's security guards.
However, Fatah claims Haniyeh's underlings were responsible for the incident at the Dahlen wedding, and that the number of victims is close to 60. A Hamas official told Ynet his organization "had nothing to do" with the attack. (YNETNEWS.COM)
COVER IT UP, GIRLS!
Word came from the Hamas crazies in Gaza that women will be required to wear head coverings.
This is in line with the radical Islamist beliefs that murder is okay but showing one’s hair is a crime punishable by beating or even death.
In Jerusalem and Nazareth, not to mention Bethlehem, we notice a constantly increasing percentage of Arab women wearing not only head coverings, but even veils.
I was stunned not long ago as Wanda and I walked down Jaffe Road to be confronted on the narrow sidewalk by three women in head to toe black burkas.
It was a wakeup call to us that the radicalization of even Israeli Arabs is on the rise.
SPEAKING OF RADICALS:
In the coastal Israel town of Ashdod, a Jewish bakery owner is having their “kashrut certificate” revoked. What is their crime?
Are they non-Kosher? Nope. They are the victims of the Ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. Their crime is that they are Messianic Jews. They are Israelis who believe that the Jewish Jesus Christ is their Messiah. They are born-again Jews and openly proclaim it.
The virulent anti-Christian Yad L’Achim has identified them as a target of opportunity.
Don’t be stunned. This group of people who are willing to riot over a parking lot in Jerusalem that is not near their enclaves will surely attack these poor folks who are only trying to make a living in Ashdod and serve their faith.
Rabbis 'Standing as a Wall' vs. High Court, Missionary Bakery
Av 1, 5769, 22 July 09 02:48
by Avraham Zuroff
(Israelnationalnews.com) An anti-missionary group’s revelation that an Ashdod bakery owner was actively involved in missionary activity prompted the local rabbinate to pull the establishment’s kashrut certificate. A subsequent High Court ruling demanding that the kashrut certificate be reinstated was rebuffed by rabbis.
Three weeks ago, a panel of three High Court judges decided in favor of a motion by Penina Comforti, a messianic Jew and active missionary, and ruled that the Chief Rabbinate and the Rabbi of Ashdod must rescind their refusal to grant kashrut certification to the 'Penina' pie bakery that she owns.
Rabbi Yosef Sheinin, Ashdod’s Chief Rabbi, subsequently sent a letter to Rabbi Zalman Melamed of Beit El, asking how to proceed after the High Court ruling.
'Be prepared to sacrifice'
In a response which was also sent to Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman and religious parliamentarians, Rabbi Melamed said that the High Court ruling came as no surprise. “High Court rulings are driven by a non-Jewish outlook, and undoubtedly judges who share a religious viewpoint would decide completely differently,” the rabbi wrote.
“In my opinion, there is no halachic (Jewish legal) dispensation to grant kashrut [kosher certification] to the above premises, and one should stand by this even after the High Court’s decision. All rabbis must stand firm as a wall against the attempt to interfere with halachic matters. This is a principle that one must embrace without compromise,” Rabbi Melamed continued, adding that “one must be prepared to sacrifice his life – even more so one’s entire assets – for such coercion.”
Rabbi Melamed also urged that the law be changed as soon as possible to only grant kashrut certificates in accordance with Jewish law and without court intervention. He called for all religious parliamentarians and religious parties to act to change the law.
The anti-missionary Yad L’Achim organization is distributing flyers throughout Ashdod, telling residents to stay clear of the missionary bakery.
'Kashrut is nothing to them'
Yad L’Achim’s Rabbi Shalom Dov Lipschitz explained that a kashrut supervisor could only certify the food of an establishment if there was a relationship of trust with the establishment. The chairman of the veteran anti-missionary organization explained to Israel National News that the missionaries' petition is an act of deception. “Why do missionaries need this? In order to ‘prove’ that they are just as Jewish as everyone else," he said. "If they lack credibility, kashrut is nothing to them.”
He also stated that the High Court has overstepped the bounds of its jurisdiction. “The High Court thinks that kashrut is merely a technical issue. But they must know that it’s impossible to interfere with the Rabbinate, and the Rabbinate didn’t invent the issue.”
(Arutz sheva internet)
NOT FAR AWAY MORE CHRISTIANS UNDER ATTACK
This time it is in Gaza. The attackers are radical Moslems.
It was on Tuesday before Christmas year before last that we interviewed the widow of a Christian man who was murdered in Gaza. His crime was operating a Christian book store, and refusing the sheik who demanded that he recant his faith and become a Moslem.
As his dear widow said, “I would rather see him dead than recant his faith in the Saviour.”
That kind of faith shocks so many who live in a nation where they can worship freely.
Church official, wife beaten and robbed in Gaza
Jul. 23, 2009
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST
Constantine Dabbagh, Executive Secretary of the Near East Council of Churches, complained on Wednesday that three masked men who broke into his house beat him and his wife before stealing money and jewelry.
The Hamas government said it had launched an investigation into the incident, which took place on Tuesday night in the western suburbs of Gaza City.
The assault on Dabbagh and his wife is the latest in a series of attacks on members of the tiny Christian community in the Gaza Strip.
Dabbagh said that the masked men first bound his and his wife's hands behind their backs before covering their heads and faces with cloth and beating them.
He added that the assailants told him that they came to search the house for wireless devices of communications. He said that the masked men spent nearly one hour inside the house, during which time they stole money and jewelry.
The assailants also stole the Christian couple's car.
WHO SHOT JR?
I remember years ago when Dallas was a big TV show that there was a plot about who shot JR. I have to tell you that I never watched it, and only know the name from ads.
But I have a friend who said, “I don’t know who shot JR. I’m just glad someone did!”
Now we come to who killed the Ugly One and How?!
Pity poor (rich) Suha? No I don’t. She’s rich on the blood money of terrorists. Bah.
Report: Arafat's widow forced to deny assassination plot
According to Saudi newspaper, Suha Arafat blackmailed into denying any knowledge of Abbas and Dahlan's involvement in alleged plot to poison deceased Palestinian leader. Reportedly, Abbas' office threatened not to pay her monthly salary if she declined
Accusations that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and others were part of a plot to poison deceased Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat are shaking the PA.
According to reports on Sunday, the late Palestinian leader's widow, Suha Arafat, broke out in tears after being forced to deny any knowledge of the alleged scheme.
The media storm started two weeks ago when the number two PLO figure, Farouk Kaddoumi, claimed in a Jordanian press conference that Abbas together with PA security chief Mohammad Dahlan collaborated in an Israeli-orchestrated plot to poison Arafat.
Kaddoumi asserted that Arafat had shown him documentation proving that Abbas and Hamas leaders met with top American and Israeli officials on the issue.
Fatah quickly went on the offensive against Kaddoumi and his statements, even pointing an angry finger at Jordan and the al-Jazeera news network for covering the affair.
Arafat's widow, Suha, told a Turkish newspaper last week that her deceased husband showed her the minutes of the same Israeli-American-Palestinian meeting of which Kaddoumi spoke. According to her, the ex-leader also said that he feared for his life in light of Dahlan's and Abbas' allegedly peculiar behavior.
Saudi newspaper Okaz quoted Palestinian sources claiming that Abbas' office, acting upon direct orders from the president, threatened to revoke Suha Arafat's monthly PA salary should she decline to deny what the statements she made to the Turkish newspaper.
According to the report, Suha, currently living in Malta near her brother, who is serving as Palestinian ambassador in the country, cried when she learned of the threats.
Pressure from Ramallah brought her to read a script to the media sent to her by Abbas' office denying that she had any knowledge of an assassination plot and attacking Kaddoumi for his statements against the PA. (YNETNEWS.COM)
UNDER THE HEADING “TELL US SOMETHING WE DON’T ALREADY KNOW”:
Fatah (the ruling terrorist group in the West Bank) leaders under Mahmoud Abbas are all talking tough. They have repeatedly sent out spokesmen to tell the world that they don’t recognize Israel.
In other words, they, like the rabid Hamas group, desire to eradicate all Jews from Israel.
This is not news, of course, but why all the tough talk now after the previous Bush peace talks, and in spite of the fact that Bibi says he’s ready to resume peace talks now (under certain conditions, which are only sensible)?
The deal is that sooner or later the Palestinians will be forced by Western ideologues to hold more of the sham-democratic elections. Fatah is under no false impressions. Hamas might well wrest control from Fatah again.
Go figger!? The corruption is still as rampant as ever. The old wolves are still in power and tamping down any younger men who want power desperately.
The question about them is a) is it to get the corruption reins for themselves or b) to make more war against Israel, or (ha ha), c) to make peace.
You answer the question for yourself. If it were to make peace then why appeal to the lowest level of their society. I cannot call it a civilization when they teach their kids to be shahids, or martyrs.
FIRST MY HOPEFUL RADIO BROADCAST AND THEN REALITY BREAKS OUT FROM BARRY RUBIN:
Peace in our time! For the youngsters among our listeners this was the statement, spoken on September 30, 1938 by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his speech concerning the Munich Agreement. That agreement gave a chunk of Czechoslovakia to Adolf Hitler in an attempt to satisfy his hunger for "living space" for Germany.
That ignorant statement was followed, of course by WW II, including Hitler’s attempt to destroy London on his path to world domination.
Regarding peace between Israel and the Palestinians, no one is saying “peace in our time.” President Obama’s Middle East representative George Mitchell indicated this week that Obama is copying Clinton - Bill not Hill – in his approach.
Where President George W. Bush laid out his Road Map and then tried to pressure both Israel and the Palestinians to agree on it, apparently Obama is rather trying to get more players involved. Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia to name the major players.
To his great credit, Mitchell, in his meeting with President Shimon Peres, said that the Palestinians had to improve their security forces, stop incitement and “refrain from any words or deeds that may make it more difficult to move quickly toward successful negotiations.”
Mitchell balanced that by saying that Israel should improve Palestinian freedom of access in order to strengthen the West Bank economy and tackle “difficult issues like settlements and outposts.”
On top of that he said that the Arab states should take meaningful steps toward normalizing ties with Israel.
I would like to say “kudos to Mr. Mitchell.” If this is President Obama’s perspective then all parties can find comfort in the words.
Now let’s take a look at the various aspects of what was said:
First, he allowed everyone to save face. No dictates from the American Big Brother. Middle Easterners don’t take well to being told what Westerners demand they do.
For the Palestinians, they do have to improve their security forces. From the days in ’93 when Arafat moved to Israel / Gaza, the so-called PA cops were nothing but armed thugs and terrorists. They plotted to attack and eliminate Israel at every opportunity. In between attacks they were a local thugocracy that murdered, robbed and oppressed their own people.
I am a schitzo when the subject of arming and improving the training of the PA security forces. One side says that Keith Dayton should go back to the States and retire from active duty. The other side - the pragmatic side – says that of course, there needs to be a well-armed, well-disciplined police force to maintain order in the Arab areas of the West Bank and Gaza. - Well, the West Bank for now. Gaza is a topic for some other day.
Mitchell then said that the PA had to stop incitement and “refrain from any words or deeds that may make it more difficult to move quickly toward successful negotiations.”
What he’s talking about here is the education of children to be “shahids” or martyrs. The training up of little ones to want to blow up their Israeli cousins is anything but civilized!
There is never going to be a real peace when all the children of consecutive Palestinian generations are taught only to hate.
To the Israelis, Mitchell spoke of something that the Netanyahu government already has underway – the improvement of Palestinian movement about the West Bank areas. In other words the reduction of road blocks and identity checkpoints.
These were a means of keeping terrorists controlled. If their freedom of movement was restricted, then their attacks or flight after an attack, was a means of capturing them. It obviously worked. Now comes a test to see if the PA security forces trained by the US and Jordan will do the same work or if attacks increase.
In other words, Netanyahu – under pressure from the West – is gambling the lives of all of us who live in Israel in hopes of making peace. I understand it, but it sure jacks up my paranoia when out and about in crowded areas of the country.
On the settlement issue, I’m also divided. Some of these settlements are little more than a hand full of dirty, disheveled youth perched on a mountain top with a tent and a camp stove. They are not creating a viable living environment. It is a youthful adventure that occasionally gets them eight seconds on channel 2.
Still, the legitimate towns and cities which are functioning places that Israelis built with government assistance and encouragement over the past years should be allowed to grow a certain amount without hindrance by either leftists in Israel or the Palestinians. Sensible agreements are possible between the two groups, if people will rachet down the emotions.
Greater Israel will have to wait for the Messiah. It is a political reality that I don’t like, but there it is.
Regarding Arab states taking meaningful steps toward normalizing ties with Israel, we are hopeful too.
There is already trade between Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and some other Arab countries. Granted some countries repackage the items to remove “made in Israel” labels, but there is government to government trade at least. This can and likely will be expanded in the future.
Will Syria, Lebanon and some others like Yemen get on the band wagon in the coming months?
I for one can imagine peace in this area. Why not? We already enjoy a great reduction in the number of attacks, if not threats of attack. That Arab people who call themselves Palestinians could have real jobs, earn sensible livings, see their kids learn to read and write instead of being the objects of hateful propaganda and brain washing would be a wonderful thing.
Jordan and Israel already cooperate in education, agriculture, tourism and trade endeavors. I personally know of two of their “old generals” – one from each nation - who are now quite good friends and spend time together socializing.
The possibilities for peace are there already. For it to happen, though, there will need to be more statesmanship and less corruption. Hatred and jealousy will have to decrease and forgiveness of the old wounds will have to increase. This last will be a large order in an area where blood feuds and honor killings still abound. Of this I am not especially hopeful.
Will an Israeli attack on Iran throw all of this peace talk under the donkey cart?
In the coming months will King Obie begin to try to get tough with Israel like he currently is with the cops, Congress and Rush Limbaugh?
This is Ernie Moore
The Region: Fatah's power structure spells trouble for peace with Israel
Jul. 26, 2009
Barry Rubin , THE JERUSALEM POST
With Fatah, ruler of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the PLO - in effect, Israel's Palestinian negotiating partner - planning to hold a rare congress to determine the group's future, it's a good time to examine its leadership, the Fatah Central Committee.
Two important facts leap out at you: the high degree of both age and intransigence among those who lead the Palestinian movement. A generational struggle cannot be postponed forever, but the younger cohort may be even more radical. Almost all the members have been on the committee for more than 20 years; the last one was added in 1995. All are over age 65.
Why are Fatah's leaders so rarely discussed? Because to do so immediately shows there isn't going to be any comprehensive peace agreement in this generation and that the designation of Fatah as "moderate" rests on a rather broad definition of that word.
PLO and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, 74 years old, is no dictator able to order around the other leaders. Even if he wanted to make a compromise deal - which he doesn't - he couldn't deliver his own purported followers, much less his Hamas rivals.
Of the Fatah Central Committee's 17 surviving members, only three can be classified as relative moderates. At least seven can be called radicals - many still oppose the original 1993 Oslo agreement - even in relation to the late PLO, Fatah, and PA leader Yasser Arafat. The remaining seven might be called hardliners whose views are close to those of Arafat, which makes any peace agreement with Israel impossible.
ONE THING that unites them all is a hatred of Hamas and a belief that Fatah is the natural and only conceivable leader of the Palestinian movement. They are eager to make a deal with Hamas, but only if the Islamists accept a subordinate role, which won't happen. Many in the younger Fatah generation, however, are sympathetic to a more equal coalition with their "brothers" to fight Israel.
At present, 14 of 17 members could never make a comprehensive peace treaty with Israel. Even the fifteenth, Abbas himself, is so firm on demanding all Palestinian refugees must be allowed to return to live in Israel, he could be added to this group.
The two genuine moderates on the committee, at least by Palestinian standards, are 71-year-old Nabil Shaath and 72-year-old Ahmad Qurei (Abu Ala). Both have declined in importance in recent years. Shaath reached the peak of his power as Arafat's moderate front-man, though he briefly served as prime minister in 2005. Shaath owns his own successful - though partially through his political connections and with serious accusations of corruption - business.
Qurei was prime minister for most of the 2003-2006 period but quarrelled with Abbas. Neither Shaath nor Qurei has any political base of support. These two might well be willing to make a two-state deal with Israel but their political power today is zero.
In comparison, many of those who are far more extreme hold positions of power and influence in the organization. They and not Prime Minister Salam Fayyad (who is technically an independent) or PA President Abbas are the ones who really control Fatah, the main Palestinian institutions, and the West Bank.
The best-known of those rejecting a two-state solution and the leading figure in the radical group is the Tunis-based Fatah chiarman, 78-year-old Farouq Qaddumi. He continues to oppose the Oslo agreement and is very popular in the movement, though clearly of the generation now moving off the stage. He is also extremely close to Syria. Periodically, he snipes at Abbas and while he isn't going to displace Abbas, his views - which have not changed over the last 40 years - still set much of the organization's and movement's tone.
Another influential radical is Salim al-Zaanoun, head of the Palestine National Council, the PLO's quasi-parliament. Zaanoun has always denied that the PLO changed its Charter to recognize Israel, as it pretended to do in 1996. He ought to know and in fact he is quite correct. This was a violation of the Palestinians' obligations under the Oslo agreement, one of many which have gone unnoticed by the West.
The most actively important radicals in Fatah's hierarchy are Sakhr Habash (Abu Nizar), long-time head of Fatah's Revolutionary Committee (the body immediately below the Central Committee) and Fatah's key ideologue, and Sharif Ali Mashal (Abu Zaki), long-time PLO director of Arab world relations and now Fatah's representative in Lebanon. Both men are close to being traditional, radical Arab nationalists. To hear what these two say is to be back in the world of PLO politics from the 1960s and leaves no illusion about the possibility of peace between the Palestinians and Israel.
WHAT ABOUT the "merely" hardline group? This includes veteran Fatah member Hani al-Hasan, 72, who criticized Abbas's leadership and urged continued attacks on settlers but not within Israel itself, and three former PLO diplomats: Hakam Balaoui (Abu Marwan), a personal favourite of Arafat, Abdallah Franji, and Subhi Abu Karsh (Abu Monzer). Another is Intisar al-Wazir (Um Jihad), 68, widow of a key PLO leader and sometime minister of social warfare, the only woman on the committee.
Finally, among the most veteran members is Nasir Yusuf, a former police commander and national security advisor. The last member added, in 1995, and the only one not living in exile for decades is Zakariyya al-Agha, a 67-year-old doctor who Arafat made token leader of Fatah in the Gaza Strip with no real power. There is not a single local West Bank member, despite the fact that this is the area ruled by Fatah.
The end of Abbas's career is in sight. There is no conceivable consensus candidate to become head of Fatah, the PA, and/or the PLO. Equally, there's no leadership willing to make any comprehensive peace agreement with Israel. The Palestinian movement's troubles may get much worse.
How can such huge factors be ignored by those many people and governments in the West acting as if a quick resolution of the conflict is both possible and such a high priority?
HERE ARE SOME NEWSPAPER HEADLINES AND EDITORIAL NOTES WITH OUR COMMENTS:
1. $1 = NIS 3.77.
THE GREAT DROP.
Within two weeks, dollar has lost more than 5% of its value. Economic assessment: Declines will continue – and will rock mortgages, dollar deposits and real estate sector.
The dollar is skidding because the Obama regime is trashing it’s value by printing trillions in currency to hedge all the spending they are legislating.
This hurts those of us who live in overseas areas and have to buy local currency with ever more valueless dollars.
Our income has dropped more than 25% since January of 2006. That means that – not including price increases on everything it takes one more dollar out of our pocket to live at the same level as three years ago.
1. POLICE TO RECOMMEND: INDICTMENT AGAINST LIBERMAN – FOR BRIBERY TOO.
Investigators and Director of Investigations' Branch hesitated but concluded: Possible to secure conviction on bribery as well. This is in addition to charges of laundering tens of millions of shekels, fraud and obstruction of justice.
Foreign Minister Lieberman is lying low right now. Lots of trips overseas, few headlines, others speaking for the ministry. How much longer this can continue remains to be seen.
Lieberman is a lightning rod for PM Netanyahu. The media and the liberals hit him rather than the PM, and that is good news – for now.
Ma'ariv notes that Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, "lived in profound awareness of being part of Jewish history. Aram and Assyria were no less a part of his consciousness than were Jordan and Iraq." On the eve of the Ninth of Av (Tisha B’Av), the author professes that, "The inability…of high school pupils…to remember trivia on Zionism and Judaism is the least of our problems. The real question is to what extent does the historic memory of the Jewish People live in our consciousness and fulfill us?"
I included this editorial because one phrase struck me relating to the lack of current students to know their nation’s history.
American kids are not just history-ignorant (except for home schooled kids, primarily), they are spoon fed a left-wing dose of erroneous history, thanks to the NEA and other socialist groups in the US.
Here’s some information on the upcoming holiday:
A day of mourning marking the destruction of the First Temple, destroyed in 586 BCE by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; and the destruction of the Second Temple, destroyed in 70 CE by Titus, emperor of Rome. This date also marks the beginning of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, by order of the Spanish monarchy. All these have turned this day into the main day of mourning among the other days of mourning on the Jewish calendar. There are three more days of mourning associated with the destruction of the First and Second Temples, but Tisha B’Av is the most important of all.
The three weeks preceding Tisha B’Av are a period known as Bein ha-Metsarim - a mourning period that starts with the 17th of Tammuz, the day the walls ofJerusalem were breached prior to the destruction of the Second Temple (it, too is a day of fast). Various mourning practices are observed during this period: there are no weddings and religious Jews do not cut their hair or listen to music.
Tisha B’Av is a fast day likeYom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), lasting from sunset on the eve of the 9th of Av until sunset the following day. The day of fast includes many other prohibitions on physical pleasures.
Fasting - this is a total fast, with eating and drinking prohibited.
Additional prohibitions and physical abstinences - washing, wearing leather shoes, etc. Strict observance includes sleeping on the floor and not sitting on a chair during the day (usually until noon).
Reading the Book of Lamentations - The Biblical Book of Lamentations is a lament over the destruction of the First Temple, written, according to tradition, by the prophet Jeremiah. Lamentations describes the miserable condition of Jerusalem and the Jewish people after the destruction. The text justifies the decree of destruction issued by God for the Jewish people’s sins, but also contains words of comfort and supplication to God to forgive his people and return them to their former status. There is a custom to read Lamentations by candlelight, while seated on the floor.
Praying at the Western Wall - On Tisha B’Av many Israelis go that theWestern Wall in Jerusalem, the last remnant of the Temple, to read Lamentations there.
AND NOW THIS ON THE ARAB NONSENSE ABOUT THERE NEVER BEING ONE, MUCH LESS TWO TEMPLES.
Must we lose the two Temples again?
Jul. 28, 2009
STEPHEN ROSENBERG , THE JERUSALEM POST
There is a persistent narrative by the Islamists to deny any past Jewish presence on what they call Haram al-Sharif. Like the cult centers of Mecca and Medina, they call it the Noble Sanctuary rather than the Temple Mount. The propaganda is spreading throughout the Arab world, and would deny any legitimacy to our claim to have experienced the destruction of two Temples on the site.
All the evidence, the propaganda goes, is written by Jews and is therefore suspect. The claim for the building of the First Temple comes from the Book of Kings. It is a detailed description, but nothing of the structure has been found. The inscription on a little pomegranate showing it to have been part of a priestly scepter from the First Temple has recently been denounced as a later forgery. The parallels with temples in Syria are fine, but no proof that one existed in Jerusalem.
What evidence is there that a Jewish Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians? There is a tablet in the British Museum that Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem in his seventh year (597 BCE) and captured the city, but he destroyed no temple and only set up a "king of his own heart" (Zedekiah). The tablet goes up to the year 594 and then stops. The following years are missing and the next tablet restarts in 556 BCE. The crucial year 586 is lost.
In the Berlin Museum is a cuneiform tablet that the exiled king of Judah, Jehoiachin, was after some years restored to the emperor's table and treated with respect, but no mention of a temple, either built or destroyed. Cyrus, who conquered the Babylonians, allowed the Jews to return to Judah and recorded his decision on a cylinder, called the first Bill of Rights, now in the British Museum. But there is no mention there of a temple. The Book of Ezra mentions a restoration document, but it was written by a Jew, as were the books of the prophets that called for the rebuilding to be hastened.
As for the second destruction, the work of Herod the Great in rebuilding the Temple relies on the testimony of the Mishna and Josephus - both Jewish sources.
Josephus was, of course, somewhat suspect to the Jews as well, having at one stage gone over to the Romans, but he remained a great exponent of Jewish values and deeds, and wrote a wonderful defense of the Jews in his work Contra Apion, so his testimony about the Temple is suspect in the eyes of the Islamists.
But what about the great stones of the Temple compound, still visible today all around Haram al-Sharif, in the lower courses of the Western Wall and elsewhere? Only Herod could have forced men to move such megaliths. Well no, the propaganda goes, after the Romans conquered Jerusalem, they had to set up their temple to Jupiter, and thus built this vast platform as its base. The Roman builders were the equal of Herod when it came to monumental structures, just look at the temples of Baalbek. And there is nothing on the Temple Mount to indicate that a Jewish Temple ever stood there.
Our own history is so ingrained in us, and our belief in the First and Second Temples so deeply inscribed in our hearts that it is difficult to think of an answer to these charges. But there are answers that don't depend on our own literature.
Firstly Josephus. His account of his own period is good history. His description of contemporary buildings is borne out by archeology. He lived shortly after the death of Herod, and gives a vivid account of that ruler's ruthless personality as well as his achievements in construction. But as Josephus was not alive at the time, what were his sources? His main source was Herod's personal historian, Nicolaus of Damascus, a non-Jew who would have had no reason to invent the story of Herod rebuilding the Second Temple.
Josephus mentions that there was a stone at the southwest corner of the Temple Mount from which one of the priests would blow the trumpet on Friday afternoons to announce the start of the Sabbath. That stone has been found, with the Hebrew inscription "Lebeit hatekia" (to the place of trumpeting). No such stone would have graced the corner of a Roman temple.
Furthermore, the existence of the Second Temple is made clear from the New Testament and the stories of Jesus within the Temple complex. But then, the Islamists would say, those Christian documents were also written by Jews, maybe by Jews with a new belief in a savior, but still Jews who needed to aggrandize the miracles of their messiah in the context of his Jewish past.
So the external sources are slim, except for one piece of evidence that is hard and fast. And that is the large frieze on the Arch of Titus in Rome, showing the spoils of the Temple being carried by Jewish slaves through the Forum Romanum. The shapes of the menora and silver trumpets are clear. Trumpets appear everywhere in the Roman world, but there was no menora at that time at any place in the world except Jerusalem.
Was this proof of a Temple on Haram al-Sharif? It's pretty good evidence, but perhaps not enough for the Islamists, so let's turn to their own sources. The Dome of the Rock was built during the caliphate of Abdul al-Malik and completed in 692 CE. It stands directly over the extensive rock which, by Muslim tradition, was the landing and departure point of Muhammad on his steed El-Burak during his Night Journey from Mecca. The "evidence" is the foot and hoof marks on the rock - a cultic relic from early days.
These marks also indicate that it is from here, and to here, that God will come and go at the End of Days. As His direction of travel is not known, the Dome of the Rock was built facing the four winds of heaven. It has no focus except the central rock, and entrances on all four sides. Does the central rock indicate the presence of a Jewish Temple? Not necessarily, but the Koran itself now makes that clear.
The prophet's night journey is described in Surah 17: "Glory be to Him who made His servant go by night from the Sacred Temple [Mecca] to the farther Temple [Al-Aksa, Jerusalem], whose surroundings We have blessed..." It goes on to say, "We solemnly declared to the Israelites: 'Twice you shall commit great evil in the land... and We sent against you a formidable army which ravaged your land... and when the prophecy of your second transgression came to be fulfilled, We sent another army to afflict you and to enter the Temple, as the former entered it before..."
Thus the Koran itself gives us the evidence of the destruction of the two Temples that had stood on the site of Al-Aksa.
Nothing could be clearer.
The writer is a fellow of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archeological Research in Jerusalem.
In Israel and America this week the photos of New Jersey politicians and rabbi’s “perp-walking” after they were busted for corruption and trading in illegal human body parts was disgusting.
Notice I said disgusting and not shocking.
Perhaps we’ve lost our ability to be shocked. Nonetheless it saddens me to see more and more and more politicians looking less honorable than Italian Mafia Dons.
That goes double for Rabbis. I have long been aware that the rabbinate in some sects is not about virtue but rather about power and money. Still it hurts me to see it marched before the cold eyes of news cameras.
I look back to the days of Jimmy Swaggert and Jim & Tammy Baker, the guy from Denver (I forget his name and don’t care to look it up) who was busted for drugs and homosexual activity.
Perhaps I’m too much of an idealist. One of my friends in Jerusalem said recently, “Ha! You’re a Jew, certainly. You are a cynic.” Maybe so, but paired with that is an optimist’s yearning for goodness and purity and righteousness in those who say they serve the Lord.
We’re all human. We all have our weaknesses and the Devil knows them as well as we do. But I hurts to find that there are fewer and fewer people in positions of what should be trust who are actually actors only pretending. They are slime and wound society.
I’m not sitting in the seat of the scornful with all this.
What I’m saying is that if you are a parent, leader – in a church, synagogue or political position, consider the harm you do if you allow yourself to fall.
Our kids already face enough disappointments in life without losing their role models and heroes.
I remember that the famous baseball player Al Dark refused to do advertisements for a beer company because he felt it might lead kids into a life of alcoholism.
Laugh is you will, but no one ever became a sick, slobbering drunk who abstained. Sure you can handle it. (I mock) I have heard lots of drunks say that over the years.
Today, King Obie says he is against smoking, while he still lights up away from the cameras. The State—run media gives him a pass because today in the liberal never-never land they’ve created your words count for more than your actions.
I’m sick of it. Yes, I may someday fall. We all could. I hope not, and I work hard to be on guard and keep myself away from temptations, but I agree that everyone could.
Still, I urge you to beware of faking it in life. Righteousness is no small thing.
Well, that’s a wrap for this week. We thank you for your prayers, friendship, support and encouragement.
Until we meet,
Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Psalm 25:22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
Psalm 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
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