Monday, February 22, 2010



Friday February 19,2010
By Chris Roycroft-Davis

EXCUSE me for not sending flowers to the funeral of the terrorist the Israelis bumped off in Dubai. Unlike the bleeding hearts in the liberal media I’m not shedding any tears.

As military chief of terrorist group Hamas, Mahmoud al Mabhouh had the blood of many Israeli soldiers and civilians on his hands. He was in charge of smuggling rockets and grenades into the Gaza Strip so his murderous gangs could lob them into Israel.

He could hardly complain when a hit squad from Mossad, the Israeli security service, brought his life to a swift end. To say he had it coming is an understatement.

So why such a fuss about his execution? Why has the Foreign office twisted the arm of the Israeli ambassador? And possibly the most crucial question of all: whose side are we on, the terrorists or those with the courage to stand up to them?

The Israelis don’t mess about, they don’t sit back and take it. You kill one of them and they will kill you. And afterwards they won’t explain, they won’t apologise, they won’t even deny it.

WORLD opinion means nothing – what ever London, Washington or Damascus may say the Israelis are convinced that they are right. An eye for an eye is the most basic concept of natural justice, dating back 4,000 years to Babylonian times and is promoted three times in the old Testament. Even in the New Testament Jesus says: Those who take up the sword shall die by the sword.

Did Mahmoud al-Mabhouh reflect on that as he checked in to room 230 at his posh hotel in Dubai? He was the man behind the kidnapping and killing of two Israel soldiers 21 years ago; he had been smuggling arms into the Gaza Strip; he was believed to be in Dubai to buy more weapons from an Iranian dealer. If Mossad agents came to call they were hardly there to inquire after his health.

Unlike Britain, Israel doesn’t tolerate an enemy within. It doesn’t give those who hate them free housing and welfare handouts. It doesn’t let the right of free speech enable them to preach murder on its streets.

Retribution is a vital part of Israel’s psyche. After the Second World War the Israelis spent half a century tracking down evil Nazis. When Israeli athletes were murdered at the 1972 olympics their Palestinian killers were hunted around the world and eliminated: one by a bomb in his bed, another by a booby-trapped phone.

Who can forget the electrifying raid on Entebbe in 1976 when Israeli special forces stormed a hijacked airliner, killed the terrorists and freed all but three of the hostages? It was a salutary lesson to the world.

You’d think that Britain of all countries would understand the need to pull no punches with those who have sworn to be your enemies. That’s what the SAS did in Northern Ireland for more than 30 years, taking out IRA members before they could perpetrate further outrages. It is what our special forces did in Iraq and are doubtless doing in Afghanistan.

It is what the SAS should be doing today in Somalia, where British yacht couple Paul and Rachel Chandler are being held by pirates. Can you imagine the Israelis allowing two of their people to suffer so long in some fly-blown African hellhole?

Israel has no reason to be ashamed of its actions. As Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman points out: “our security activity is conducted according to the very clear, very cautious and responsible rules of the game.” rule No 1 of course in any security activity is kill or be killed.

Where Britain has a right to be upset, however, is the way the Israelis have carried out ID theft on the passports of six of our citizens. It’s not the first time they’ve done it and last time they promised they wouldn’t do it again.

One Foreign office source says Britain could cut ties with Mossad if the Israelis have been “found to be acting against British interests”. You might think executing the would terrorist might be precisely in our interests but the career diplomats take a loftier view.

Gordon Brown says Israel has questions to answer about nicking our passports but the implication is that Britain wouldn’t be in the least bit put out if the Israeli hit squad had used fake documents from Libya, Japan, Peru – in fact anywhere other than Britain.

BROWN even has the cheek to spout that “a British passport is an important part of being British”. This from a Prime Minister whose policy was to welcome millions of immigrants so he could socially engineer the country to be less British and more likely to vote Labour.

We should take no lessons either from the BBC, which for too long refused to call Hamas suicide bombers “terrorists” and hid behind weasel words like “radicals” and “militants”. Its anti-Israel bias is clear today when BBC News pontificates that Israel “may have scored a costly own goal” by using British identities for what it calls “nefarious activities”.

Make no mistake, I think a British passport is the most valuable document in the world and I don’t like it being used to gain illegal entry to another country. But my top priority will always be security and the world is undoubtedly more secure now Hamas has lost another murderer from its ranks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

*Anti-Israel Bias Infects Medical Journals*

*Anti-Israel Bias Infects Medical Journals* Barbara Kay, February 4, 2010

As all doctors know, untreated gangrene in a single limb can spread quickly through the body and lead to death. The most effective way to halt the progress of gangrene is to cut off the corrupting limb, a necessary sacrifice for the greater good.

As with bodies, so with scientific credibility.
As Phyllis Chesler informed us [1] in these pages on January 24, Lancet, once an impeccable source for authoritative medical research, has in recent years become more and more “Palestinianized.” In the just-published article she cites, “Association between exposure to political violence and intimate-partner violence in the occupied Palestinian territory: a cross-sectional study,” Palestinian husbands were found to be more violent towards their wives as a function of the Israeli “occupation” — “and … the violence increases significantly when the husbands are ‘directly’ as opposed to ‘indirectly’ exposed to political violence.”
Very clever. Being a Palestinian means you get to beat your wife without having to say you’re sorry, because, hey, it’s too bad about all those bruises, but the Israelis made me do it! That the statistics were gathered and the study was funded by the Palestinian Authority should have been a clue to its lack of objectivity. This is propaganda, not research.
It isn’t only Lancet, though. Editorial views in the prestigious British Medical Journal [2] and the Journal of the Royal College of Physicians [3] (recently renamed Clinical Medicine) have revealed a similar pattern of anti-Israel bias.

In the February 2009 issue of Commentary [4] (requires a login), an official organ of the Royal College of Physicians of London, for example, an inflammatory “special” article erroneously claims, amongst other falsehoods, that Palestinian physicians were prevented from traveling abroad for training and conferences. This was especially galling to Israeli medical professionals because, as Hebrew University Professor Oded Abramsky wrote in an open letter to the Royal College of Physicians [5]: “The level of cooperation between Israeli and Gazan hospitals and medical personnel and the cross-border treatment of the ill and wounded is without question greater than between any two other entities in the world who are nominally (and sometimes actively) at war. Therefore, please keep medicine and politics separate, for the good of all, as we try to do in Israel.” An apology by the journal was later (grudgingly) issued.

To prove that bias amongst British medical research elites is systemic rather than random, a group of Israeli medical academics, led by Prof. Yehuda Shoenfeld, editor-in-chief of the Israeli Medical Association Journal [6], assessed coverage of conflict-related deaths around the world.

Their study [7] analyzed citations in the British Medical Journal, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association, finding that: for Europeans killing Europeans (Bosnia), there was one citation for every 2,000 deaths; for Africans killing Africans (Rwanda), one citation for every 4,000 deaths; for Arabs killing black Africans (Darfur), one citation for every 7,000 deaths; for Arab Muslims killing Kurds, no citation whatsoever; yet, for Israelis killing Palestinians, one citation for every 13 deaths.

The Brits aren’t alone in their politicization of science. But because of the long ancestry of their journals and the reflexive respect they command, the British organs are looked up to as role models; when they allow ideology to trump accuracy and objectivity, they give encouragement to insalubrious elements in other research entities.

And so now the gangrene is everywhere, even in my own backyard. Canadian scientific scholarship is generally widely respected and used to be entirely credible. But as early as 2004 the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry [8] published an article, “Prevalence of Psychological Morbidity in West Bank Palestinian Children [9],” whose thrust is to blame the Israeli occupation for the psychological problems of Palestinian children. The methodology is transparently shoddy and no attempt is made to obscure the partisanship governing the focus. Any objective study would have sought to compare data about the suffering of Israeli children under constant threat of (and actual) terrorism. Worse, from a scientific point of view, not a single one of the authors is academically accredited in psychology or psychiatry. It took months before a letter of rebuttal was accepted for publication. By then the damage was done.

It’s too bad these medical journals don’t choose to highlight the amazing medical benefits Israel has brought to Palestinians. As detailed in a May 30, 2009, study [10] by U.S. medical researchers Ted H. Tulchinsky et al., Palestinians in the territories boast the lowest age- and sex-standardized mortality rate per 100,000 of all Middle Eastern Arab populations. Since 1972 immunization coverage in the territories has reached 99%. Polio and measles have been eradicated. Life expectancy rose from 54 in 1970 to 73 in 2007. Major sanitation and disease-control projects have reduced morbidity and hospital admissions.

And of Israeli and North American doctors giving of their time and expertise to improve the medical lot of Palestinians, there seems to be no end. Some Toronto heart surgeons, to cite but one shining example, 10 years ago founded a strictly non-political, non-sectarian group called Save a Child’s Heart [11] (SACH), whose motto is “mending hearts, building bridges.” Headquartered at Woolfson Hospital in Tel Aviv, with satellite offices in the U.S., the UK, and Germany, SACH has operated on 2,100 children from 35 different countries at a cost of about $10,000 per child. Almost half of them are from neighboring Arab countries, including the West Bank, of course. Money raised by SACH also goes to train foreign medical teams. During the Gazan conflict, an infant nephew of the Hamas minister of defense was brought in for urgent heart surgery.

Why don’t Lancet and the others choose to write the good medical news about Israel? They could start with Israel’s stellar performance following the recent earthquake in Haiti, where by all accounts the Israeli field hospital and human and material resources rose head and shoulders over every other country’s.
If the medical profession were a human body, any objective doctor would issue the obvious warning that if it wants to thrive — in academic terms, to be taken seriously by real scholars — it must cut off the gangrenous anti-Israel limb that has already turned black and stinks to high heaven.
Time is running out. Physicians, heal thyselves.
Article printed from Pajamas Media:
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URLs in this post:
[1] informed us:
[2] British Medical Journal:
[3] Journal of the Royal College of Physicians:
[5] open letter to the Royal College of Physicians:
[6] Israeli Medical Association Journal:
[8] Canadian Journal of Psychiatry:
[9] Prevalence of Psychological Morbidity in West Bank Palestinian Children:
[11] Save a Child’s Heart:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Palestinian Prime Minister to Israeli Audience: You Make Concessions, We Don't

By Barry Rubin*

Imagine this. You're prime minister of a regime that isn't yet a state. You are praised in the Western media as a great moderate man of peace. You represent a people who the U.S. president says is in an intolerable situation. You supposedly want a country of your own. Indeed you've announced you will get a state in two years, something conceivable only if your negotiating partner agrees. You're dependent on contributions from Western democratic countries that want you to make a deal. Your rivals have seized almost half the land you want to rule and work tirelessly to overthrow your regime and very possibly to kill you personally.

But here comes a big opportunity.

You are invited by your negotiating partner to its most important meeting of the year. All the other side's top leaders and opinionmakers are listening to you.
And that country's second most powerful leader has just made a very conciliatory speech praising you personally, urging peace, offering concessions, and telling his own people they must be ready to give you a lot.

What do you do?

Make a warm conciliatory, confidence-building speech, showing by substantial offers that you, too, are willing to compromise; stretching out your hand in order to build friendship and ensure you get a country?

Hey, we're talking about the Palestinians here! And as I say over and over again: anyone who thinks the Palestinian Authority (PA) is going to make peace hasn't been paying attention to what they say and do.

So here is what PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told the audience at the Herzliya Conference, held at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), following Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's conciliatory speech:

--Israel must immediately start pulling out of the rest of the West Bank, without getting anything in return.

--It must immediately stop all construction on settlements, including apartments now being completed.

--Israel's army should never enter PA-ruled areas. Even if the PA refuses to arrest those who have murdered Israelis or won't stop planned attacks, Israel's army must do nothing, despite the 1993 agreement between the two sides permitting this. Fayyad said this isn't necessary because the PA is taking care of these matters. But this makes no sense: when Israel sees that to be true it never orders incursions in the first place.

--Israel should end its blockade of the Gaza Strip, even though the Hamas movement ruling there refuses to make a deal with the PA, openly announces its goal of destroying Israel, and smuggles in as many weapons as possible. Moreover, as soon as it feels secure again, Hamas will launch new attacks on Israel. Fayyad claimed, however, that if Israel did so, the PA could then build government institutions in the Gaza Strip, though it has no control whatsoever there.

--He openly stated that his goal was to mobilize international support and create such a strong state apparatus that the world would pressure Israel to end any presence in the West Bank or east Jerusalem, apparently without the Palestinian side giving anything.

--While Barak said that the "roughness" of the region made it harder to give the Palestinians everything they wanted (for example, the PA could be overthrown by Hamas; subverted by Iran and Syria; unwilling or unable to stop cross-border attacks), Fayyad responded that once Israel left all of the West Bank the region would become more stable and peaceful. That's a rather questionable assertion.

It is true that he ended by saying:
"The Israeli people have a long history, they have pain, they have ambition, and like you, we Palestinians have our own history. Right now we are going through lots of pain and suffering. And we have one key aspiration, and that is once again to be able to live alongside you in peace, harmony and security."
Yet he addressed none of the points in Israel's own peace plan: an official end to the conflict if there is an agreement; resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Palestine; an end to incitement (which would be easy to do) to kill Israelis; limits on the militarization of a Palestinian state; or recognition of Israel as a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian Arab Muslim state (the PA constitution says that Islam is the country's official religion).

This was not an extremist speech or one seeking conflict. Fayyad is probably the most moderate guy in the PA leadership. He was doing about the best he could. But that's the point. He has no base of support, isn't a member of Fatah, and doesn't really represent Palestinian thinking. He is in office for one reason only: the Western donors demand it. Fayyad, and arguably the PA leadership as a whole, don't want a new war with Israel. But Fatah will sponsor one if it thinks such a step is advantageous or needed to out-militant Hamas.

Equally, Fayyad couldn't go any further than he did because he knows that his Fatah bosses, Palestinian constituents, and Hamas enemies would throw him out if he offered the slightest concession to Israel and demanded any less than everything they want.

We will see how much progress Fayyad makes over the next two years in building strong and stable institutions. Yet it should be understood that what he is doing is not a way to convince Israel that both sides can reach a compromise peace but to persuade the world to force Israel to make compromises without the PA having to do so.

The irony is that it doesn't matter what Barak says, except to show the world that Israel wants real peace and to encourage Israeli voters to back Labor as a party that balances a strong desire for peace with a smart sense of security for the country.

Barak warned the right-wing in Israel that it would be a mistake to oppose a genuine two-state solution, an outcome that Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu-like Barak--has accepted. But the defense minister also urged the left-wing not to be naïve.

Here's a fascinating example of how the world generally interprets the situation. Read this paragraph from the Washington Post coverage carefully:
"But there was a common thread, too, with each acknowledging an international consensus on the idea of two nations. Barak said that Israel risks becoming 'an apartheid state par excellence' if it does not negotiate the terms of Palestinian statehood soon, and Fayyad said the work being done in the West Bank on governance needs to be matched by political progress."

The two statements are supposed to be parallel. Barak says: Israel must get rid of the West Bank for its own good. Fayyad says: progress must be made in negotiations, in the context of a speech in which he asked for a long list of Israeli concessions and offered nothing in exchange. These statemens are not parallel. A parallel statement would be if Fayyad had said something like:
The Palestinians risk becoming permanently mired in violence and backwardness unless they negotiate terms for Israel feeling secure in giving up the territory.
Since 1993 not a single Palestinian leader has ever made a speech to his own people like Barak's, never said that they should have to give up something to get a state, never urged the media and public debate to become more moderate.
Four days before Fayyad's speech, here is the Friday prayer sermon given in Nablus by the imam appointed there by Fayyad and broadcast on the television Fayyad controls:

"The Jews are the enemies of Allah and [Muhammad], the enemies of humanity in general, and of the Palestinians in particular.... Jews will always be Jews. Even if donkeys cease to bray, dogs cease to bark, wolves cease to howl, and snakes cease to bite, the Jews will not cease to be hostile to the Muslims. The Prophet Muhammad said: 'Whenever two Jews find themselves alone with a Muslim, they think of killing him.' Oh Muslims, this land, these holy places, and these mosques will only be liberated when we return to the Book of Allah, and when all Muslims are prepared to become mujahideen for the sake of Allah, in support of Palestine, its people, its land, and its holy places."

How can this be reconciled with Fayyad's claim that the sole aspiration is "to live alongside you in peace, harmony and security"?

Note that this is a Palestinian Authority, not a Hamas, cleric speaking. Note, too, that while Fayyad's speech is covered around the world, sermons like these are never quoted in the Western media. This is not to say that the sermon is real and Fayyad's views are fake, it is to say that the sermon is meant to shape Palestinian politics and public opinion and what Fayyad says is meant to shape Israeli and Western politics and public opinion. Fayyad, a figurehead, is not going to make anything change and he isn't even going to try. Nor does Fayyad have any control over the ruling party, Fatah, whose leadership is still hardline on goals and negotiations, though not on more immediate issues.

The Israeli audience applauded Fayyad because it does want peace and prefers him to all the worse alternatives, especially Hamas but also those in Fatah. Yet few have any illusions that peace is at hand or that Fayyad is going to deliver it.

*Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Moral Evaluation of the Gaza War

Written by Asa Kasher of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs - Feb 4th 2010

- In Israel, a combatant is a citizen in uniform; quite often, he is a conscript or on reserve duty. His state ought to have a compelling reason for jeopardizing his life. The fact that persons involved in terrorism are depicted as non-combatants and that they reside and act in the vicinity of persons not involved in terrorism is not a reason for jeopardizing the combatant's life more than is required under combat conditions.

- The ethical doctrine which follows from the IDF Ethics document mandates that, whenever possible, you must warn non-combatants that they are residents of a neighborhood where it is dangerous to stay. In Gaza, the IDF employed a variety of unprecedented efforts meant to minimize injury to non-combatants, including warning leaflets, phone calls, and non-lethal warning fire.
- There is no army in the world that will endanger its soldiers in order to avoid hitting the warned neighbors of an enemy or terrorist. Israel should favor the lives of its own soldiers over the lives of the well-warned neighbors of a terrorist when it is operating in a territory that it does not effectively control, because in such territories it does not bear the moral responsibility for properly separating between dangerous individuals and harmless ones.

- Proportionality is not a numerical comparison, but an assessment of existing threats and the measures that must be taken in order to avert them. Proportionality is justifiability of the collateral damage on grounds of the military advantage gained.
- Compare the Gaza operation to the U.S. Marine operation in Fallujah, Iraq, in late 2004. During the operation, about 6,000 Iraqis including 1,200-2,000 insurgents were killed. Of the city's 50,000 buildings, some 10,000 were destroyed, including 60 mosques. Thus, the U.S. left a trail of destruction in Fallujah far greater than anything Israel inflicted on Gaza. Comparing IDF activities to those of military forces of Western democracies is an essential part of any present attempt to use international law.

- We in Israel are in a key position in the development of customary international law in this field because we are on the front lines in the fight against terrorism. The more often Western states apply principles that originated in Israel to their own non-traditional conflicts in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, then the greater the chance these principles have of becoming a valuable part of international law.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Palestinian Paradox

Jerusalem Post 1-15-10 ZVI MAZEL

In spite of Israel's ongoing dialogue with the United States to search for the right formula for the resumption of talks, the position taken by the Obama administration, and the unfair pressure exerted by the European Union, have brought down the fragile structure which had previously made negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians possible.

Though these negotiations did not bring about the desired peace, they did constitute an agreed channel for discussions between the two parties and brought about, for instance, the Olmert government's agreement to an American proposal to train Palestinian forces in Jordan under the supervision of Gen. Keith Dayton, thus paving the way for the creation of a regular Palestinian fighting force trained with Western methods.

This was a major concession and a risky one. This force is intended to keep order in Judea and Samaria, but who is to say that it would not turn against Israel under different circumstances? Israel has shown a greater willingness in the past year to meet the Palestinians halfway, as exemplified by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan speech recognizing the two-state principle.

Then there was the 10-month freeze on West Bank settlements.

HOWEVER, BUOYED by US President Barack Obama's intense wooing of the Muslim world, the Palestinian Authority has chosen the opposite course, refusing to come back to the negotiation table and launching an all-out diplomatic, media and legal war against the Jewish state. The EU is ratcheting up the pressure, and has issued a declaration calling for a withdrawal to the 1967 borders and for Jerusalem to become the capital of both countries. This would, in effect, render negotiations useless by determining their outcome from the outset.

It is as if the world has forgotten that Israel already made the most extraordinary concessions at Camp David and in Taba. Yasser Arafat not only turned down the Israeli proposals, he did not make any counter-proposition. The same scenario played out at Annapolis in 2008. According to a lengthy Al-Jazeera interview with Saeb Erekat on March 27, prime minister Ehud Olmert made even greater concessions, but that was not enough for PA President Mahmoud Abbas: He walked out when Olmert suggested a joint administration of the Temple Mount.

Erekat also said that when US president Bill Clinton told Arafat at Camp David that he would be the first president of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, but that he had to recognize the fact that vestiges of the Temple were buried under the Aksa Mosque and there would have to be joint administration of the Temple Mount, Arafat put an end to the negotiations.

THERE WAS no Israeli denial following these revelations, and recent interviews by Abbas and Olmert support Erekat's version - though the latest round of negotiations carried out by Olmert and foreign minister Tzipi Livni enjoyed a degree of secrecy rarely seen here. As such, the extent of the concessions the two leaders had been ready to make was kept under wraps - perhaps for fear of the impact on the coming elections.

That was a colossal miscalculation. The Knesset, the country and the world should have been told that the extremely generous terms offered to the Palestinians had been turned down, putting the blame squarely on Abbas. Such a step would have gone a long way to defuse the situation with Obama and his advisers. It seems that the new government led by Netanyahu had not been fully conversant with the details of the failed negotiations and was thus ill prepared to deal with the accusations leveled against it.

Then came the Goldstone Report. The main message there is not so much the totally unfounded accusations of war crimes but an attempt to limit the extent to which Israel is "allowed" to use force to defend itself against terrorist organizations. Such a move was not totally unexpected coming from the UN, especially from the Committee on Human Rights, where Islamic and Arab countries have a decisive voice.

What was not expected was that it would lead, for instance, to the White House asking for "clarifications" following a recent operation in Nablus. (In a confrontation with Israeli security forces, three terrorists who had murdered a father of seven were killed.) This demand, made at the request of the Palestinian Authority, constitutes a dangerous precedent. Coupled with the Goldstone Report, it tends to present a difficult dilemma to the government and to the security forces when contemplating military intervention.

AT THE same time, terrorist organizations, at the behest of some Arab countries, will be able to keep attacking our citizens while sheltering behind their civilians, in hospitals, in schools and in mosques. Hamas and Hizbullah proclaim on every available channel that they will never recognize Israel and will fight until it has disappeared - without causing an international furor. In fact, Arab organizations, supported by leftist Western groups, are busy getting arrest warrants issued in European countries having relevant legislation against Israeli leaders and army officers for "war crimes," calling for boycotting Israeli products and demonstrating their support for Gaza.

In each and every successive confrontation, Arab states and Palestinian movements have been defeated. Now they are seeking other ways to harass Israel. They are waging an all-out media war to blacken its image and ultimately delegitimize its very existence. They are helped in this endeavor by hundreds of leftist organizations and civil society movements in the West. For them Israel is a neo-colonial power, as is the US. But Israel is easier prey because of its size and isolation.

Anti-Semitism is also at work here. Palestinian and Arab media, with the full support of the Islamic establishment in Arab countries, use every anti-Semitic cliché in the book, and some of that leached into the West where it led to a renewal of classic European anti-Semitism.

Reviled, isolated, the Jewish state is thus facing what is rapidly becoming a strategic threat on its very legitimacy and existence.

Here lies the Palestinian paradox: While Israel has made great efforts to move toward a solution, Palestinian leaders, riding the crest of favorable public opinion in the West, are becoming more and more intransigent - and it is Israel which takes the blame.

The writer is a former ambassador to Egypt and Sweden