Sunday, March 20, 2011

Are Israeli Settlers Human?

Before presenting you with the article of the week, we want to repeat an excellent suggestion from a BIG subscriber and think that for those of you who use Facebook and have a number of ‘friends’ it is a great idea.

I have just realized that I can spread further your articles by copying and pasting them onto My Notes on FACEBOOK! So have just done that with Tom Gross's article about Gazaiins celebrating the vicious murder of the sad Fogel family. and will do that each time I want to get to a lot more people - before I was simply forwarding it on to personal friends but have nearly 60 on Facebook - maybe it's an idea for anyone not sure how to disseminate what you give?

And another story in video form that is worth spending a few minutes to marvel at the initiative of Israeli doctors in Haiti, who have been to give a professional dancer a new lease of life after he lost a leg in the earthquake. See “Back on the Floor” at

And so to our article of the week
Are Israeli Settlers Human?

A family of five slaughtered in their beds. Some Palestinians call it 'natural.'

By BRET STEPHENS March 15th 2011 Wall Street Journal

A few years ago, British poet and Oxford don Tom Paulin offered a view on what should be done
to certain Jewish settlers. "[They] should be shot dead," he told Al-Ahram Weekly. "I think they are Nazis, racists. I feel nothing but hatred for them." As for Israel itself, it was, he said, "an historical obscenity."

Last Friday, apparently one or more members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, the terrorist wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's "moderate" Fatah party, broke into the West Bank home of Udi and Ruth Fogel. The Jewish couple were stabbed to death along with their 11-year-old son Yoav, their 4-year-old son Elad and their 3-month-old daughter Hadas. Photographs taken after the murders and posted online show a literal bloodbath. Is Mr. Paulin satisfied now?

Unquestionably pleased are residents of the Palestinian town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, who "hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack" and "handed out candy and sweets," according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. The paper quoted one Rafah resident saying the massacre was "a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank." Just what kind of society thinks it's "natural" to slit the throats of children in their beds?
The answer: The same society that has named summer camps, soccer tournaments and a public square in Ramallah after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian woman who in March 1978 killed an American photographer and hijacked a pair of Israeli buses, leading to the slaughter of 37 Israeli civilians, 13 children among them.

I have a feeling that years from now Palestinians will look back and wonder: How did we allow ourselves to become that? If and when that happens—though not until that happens—Palestinians and Israelis will at long last be able to live alongside each other in genuine peace and security.

But I also wonder whether a similar question will ever occur to the Palestinian movement's legion of fellow travelers in the West. To wit, how did they become so infatuated with a cause that they were willing to ignore its crimes—or, if not quite ignore them, treat them as no more than a function of the supposedly infinitely greater crime of Israeli occupation?
That's an important question because it forms part of the same pattern in which significant segments of Western opinion cheered Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe and even Pol Pot. The cheering lasted just as long as was required to see the cause through to some iconic moment of triumph, and then it was on to the next struggle. It was left to others to pick up the pieces or take to the boats or die choking in their own blood.

Whether similar tragedies would unfold for Palestinians in the wake of their own "liberation" remains to be seen, though the portents—the experience of the postcolonial world generally and of the Gaza Strip specifically—aren't good.

Four-year-old Elad Fogel, one of five members of the Fogel family who were stabbed to death in their home.

Even worse is that Palestinians have grown accustomed to the waiver the rest of the world has consistently granted them over the years no matter what they do. Palestinians ought to have expectations of themselves if they mean to build a viable state. But their chances of doing so are considerably diminished if the world expects nothing of them and forgives them everything.
It is precisely in this sense that the frenzied international condemnation of Israeli settlements and settlers does the most harm.

Having been accorded the part of George Orwell's Emmanuel Goldstein—perpetual target of the proverbial two minutes of hate—they have drained whatever capacity there was to hold Palestinian actions to moral account, to say nothing of our ability to understand the nature of a conflict that is more than simply territorial. The demonization of the settlers has made the world not only coarse but blind.

I write these words as one who has long entertained doubts about the wisdom and viability of much of the settlement enterprise, though I've never considered it the core issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—a point well borne out by the example of Gaza following Israel's withdrawal.

Now I find myself cheering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for announcing, in the wake of the Fogel family massacre, the construction of hundreds of additional homes in the settlements. Israel's consistent mistake since the peace process began nearly 18 years ago was to suppose that conspicuous displays of reasonableness and moderation would beget likewise on the other side. The reality has been closer to the opposite.

For 60 years, no nation has been held to such stringent moral account, or such ceaseless international hectoring, as Israel. And no people has been held to so slight an account as the Palestinians. Redressing that imbalance is the essential first step in finding a solution to the conflict. The grotesque murders of the Fogels and their little children demands nothing less.


Tom Gross

Hamas handed out candy last night as residents took to the streets of the southern Gazan city of Rafah to celebrate the brutal terror attack in Itamar, where five members of a single Israeli family were murdered in their home, including three children, one of whom was three years old, and another just one month old. An 11-year old was killed as he lay reading in bed. The children and baby had their throats slit.

There are photos here. (These are sent with the permission of the grandparents who want people to see what was done to their family. They have given permission to news media to use these.)Be warned, they are graphic :

Three other children who survived are now orphaned.PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER ADMITS ITS TERRORISM, BBC DOESN’TEven though many Western media failed to report the attack at all, and those that did (such as the BBC) refused to use the word “terror”, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said he “clearly and firmly denounces this terror attack.”Hamas Spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, welcomed the attack. Fatah’s military wing – the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades – claimed responsibility for the attack.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed anger that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah (the benefactor of endless goodwill and billions of dollars from the US, European and other governments) refused to properly and swiftly condemn the terror attack. Netanyahu called upon Abbas to curb the dehumanization of Jews in the Palestinian media and schoolbooks “once and for all”.The Palestinian Authority continues to lionize Palestinian suicide bombers in its media and at schools, and name public squares after them, and Israel argues that this only serves to encourage attacks like the one perpetrated in Itamar.


Netanyahu also had harsh words for the international community: “A few of the countries that rushed to condemn Israel at the Security Council for building a home in some area are now prevaricating in issuing a harsh condemnation of the murder of babies,” the Israeli prime minister said.Some Israeli politicians said Israel should introduce the death penalty and apply it to the perpetrators if caught and convicted. “Otherwise European Union politicians will just pressure the Israeli government to release them from prison as part of ‘the peace process’,” said one.-- Tom Gross

Obsession with Israel makes us all ignorant

Obsession with Israel makes us all ignorant
By Robin Shepherd, March 3, 2011

Libya’s Saif al Gaddafi

One of the most noteworthy consequences of the current wave of protests and revolutions across the Arab world is that when you click on the Middle East section of the BBC website something extraordinary happens: you are no longer bombarded, headline by headline, subsection by subsection with a once familar word: "Israel".
I swear it. It's Wednesday March 2. It's midday. And I'm looking at the BBC website. Where's my fix?

Over at the Guardian it's even worse. I'm on Comment is Free. I've typed "Israel" into the search facility. Here's the response: "No matches found"! This is the Guardian for goodness' sake: a paper that, according to its own figures, printed 258 comment pieces on Israel last year, and more than 1,000 overall – about three a day. As the estimable media monitoring organisation Just Journalism pointed out, this makes for some "interesting" comparisons with conflict zones accounting for hundreds of thousands of casualties such as Congo (124 items overall) and Sudan (121).

But there is much more to this than a gentle dig at the liberal-left media establishment's obsession with the Jewish state. Ask yourself this: prior to the current crisis, how many Britons had the remotest notion that Libya was a clan-based society? That has emerged as a central element of any serious analysis of how things might transpire in the country, and, now, it features in the reporting widely. So why has such basic information taken so many of us by surprise? The obsession with Israel is not just making us sick – societally, morally, civilisationally – it is also making us stupid. People watching and reading the major media outlets can tell you the names of suburbs of east Jerusalem. Ask them to name the capital city of Jordan, and most will struggle.

Beheadings take place every Friday afternoon in Riyadh

And it's not just making us stupid, it's corrupting us as well. Witness the London School of Economics which, it has just been revealed, has been taking hundreds of thousands of pounds from a charity chaired by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's son. Conservative MP Rob Halfon rightly described it as "blood money. Our universities should not be in hock to tyranny," The Times quoted him as saying.

Of course not. But they are. Why? Because the bright lights of publicity suddenly go dark over the Middle East when Jews cannot be held responsible for misbehaviour.
Want a sneak preview of what's coming next? I'll say it in a whisper. Did you know that Saudi Arabia funds university faculties throughout the Western world? And did you know they chop people's heads off every Friday afternoon? Hold the front page…

No settlement in Sight

The constant chatter over a UN condemnation of Israel's so-called "settlements" showed just how irrelevant Western diplomacy is to the real issues in the region. The riots in Bahrain, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Iran were not about a few Jewish villages on one side of a line on a map that has been redrawn half a dozen times in the 20th century. The trouble with the Muslim world does not lie in the vineyards of the Judean Hills, the glass factories of Ariel, the academies of the revived Maccabean town of Modi'in Illit, the solar panel plants of Nazareth Illit, the dairies of Carmel or the fruit orchards of Gush Etzion.

Ever since ten Arab nations lost a war to Israel over six days in the spring of 1967, too many diplomats have acted as if it were its responsibility to fix the Muslim world. In 1973, Israel was set up to lose a war in order to bolster Muslim self-esteem. But Israel still won and while its people buried more of their dead this time around, Muslim self-esteem did not noticeably improve. In the early 90's, Israel was pressured into providing an autonomous territory for Islamo-Marxist thugs who had been trained and equipped by its neighbors to carry out terrorist attacks on its citizens. And year after year, for almost two decades, Israel has been held responsible for all the problems in the region because it has been unable to achieve a lasting peace with the terrorists.

Only a few weeks before the rioting in the region started, American diplomats and journalists were being told by Arab leaders that a solution to the Palestinian problem would stabilize the region (?). It would be interesting to go out into the streets of Cairo, Manama, Tripoli and Tunis to find out how many of the rioters would be willing to go home if there were a Palestinian state tomorrow. The answer would be none. Palestine has never been anything but a myth used as a channel for Muslim anger. Like Al-Andalus or the Mu-Pan-Li myth, (which Muslims use to claim that they were the first discoverers of America), Palestine feeds the Muslim ego and its sense of victimization. And like all xenophobic myths, its emotional teeth cannot be pulled by any amount of appeasement or concessions.

The reason Western intelligence didn't see this coming, and Israeli intelligence did, is that the West was successfully gulled and deceived by Arab leaders who insisted that the only real source of regional instability was Israel. And now even when half a dozen cities are burning, Western diplomats wrangle over a few Israeli towns and villages as if they were the real threat to peace. European leaders like Sarkozy, Merkel and Cameron may be proclaiming the failure of multiculturalism, but they are still unable to stop pandering to it anyway.

Ceding towns and cities to the Islam has not worked out for Israel or for Europe. And while many Americans may not be aware of the Little Mogadishus and the Dearbornistans in their own country, the fruited plain and the purple mountain majesties set from sea to shining sea, are bringing forth mosques and terrorists out of the ground like thorns. The secular republicanism of France has faltered in the face of millions of angry Algerians and Moroccans. And Albion's bid for a multicultural New Britain has been overwhelmed by Pakistanis and Egyptians. Germany grits its teeth at the Turks and it is not the cold that sends shivers up Sweden's spine.

Israel is a convenient whipping boy for European leaders who know this can't go on, but also believe that it must. Their assents to denunciations of Israel by such solid UN citizens as Libya, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are acts of moral cowardice by men and women who would rather collaborate than lead. It is easier to condemn the settlements of Israel, than the settlements of Europe. Barking about the Jews of Judea and Samaria requires no courage, standing up to the Muslims of Birmingham, Goutte-d'Or or Essen does. Jews may write angry letters to newspapers, but Muslims lop off the heads of newspaper cartoonists.

And what goes for the millions of Muslims scattered across Europe, goes double for the billion or so Muslims of the globe. Western leaders have no clue what to do about the rush of events in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. But they still know how to push the automatic 'condemn' button when it comes to Israel. These events have shown the impotence of the post-colonial Western order when it comes to dealing with the Muslim world. And faced with that impotence, the gaggle of politicians, diplomats, foreign policy experts and journalists who in a space of a month have proven that they know less about the region than any child, revert to the known. To the proven and failed methods that are safe, because they are useless.

As the Camp David accords, the original treaty that paved the way for all the others, is being disowned by Egypt's liberals, the push for a settlement goes on. A settlement with Mahmoud Abbas, who refuses to stand for elections, gets most of his money from America and is about as popular as Mubarak was in Egypt. That Abbas looks exactly like all the tyrants who are being overthrown across the region has yet to come up, because it's another of those inconvenient observations. The last time Condoleezza Rice pushed for democracy, Abbas nearly lost his head to Hamas. No one will be making that mistake this time. Instead Israel is expected to turn over half its capital and large portions of its country to a flimsy dictator who remains in power only by the grace of American assault rifles and an Israeli blockade of Gaza.

With the Egyptian peace treaty possibly going down in flames, Israeli leaders would have to be out of their minds to stake half their country on a deal with Abbas, an unpopular terrorist group's office boy. Signing an agreement with an Arab leader is like buying stock in a bankrupt company. And Abbas' stock is that of a telegraph company after the invention of the telephone. The only thing left to do is lay down the law, but a leader with the brass to do that is as hard to find in Israel, as in Europe. They exist, but are invariably treated as dangerous warmongering pariahs on every continent, when the real dangerous warmongers can be found shouting the Koran from the floor of every mosque. For the full article, see

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Israel Navy Uncovers Weaponry on-board Cargo Vessel

Today, the Israeli Navy intercepted the cargo vessel "Victoria" loaded with various weaponry. The vessel, flying under a Liberian flag, was intercepted some 200 miles west of Israel's coast. This incident was part of the Navy's routine activity to maintain security and prevent arms smuggling, in light of IDF security assessments.

The force was met with no resistance from the crew on-board.

The vessel is now being led by the Israeli Navy to an Israeli port for further searches and detailed inspection of the cargo.

The vessel was on its way from Mersin Port in Turkey to Alexandria Port in Egypt.

According to assessments, the various weaponry on-board the vessel was intended for the use of terror organizations operating in the Gaza Strip.
Official responses note that Turkey is not tied to the incident in any way.

Israel alerted Germany authorities about the interception of the "Victoria" due to the German ownership of the ship. In addition, the government of Liberia, whose flag it was flying under, was notified, as well as France, due to the French shipping company.

The vessel's crew and content is being transferred to an Israeli port for questioning and further inspection.

The Israeli army is continuing its intelligence and operational activities in order to maintain Israel's security interests and prevent arms smuggling that will fuel the terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

Since 2001, there have been repeated attempts to smuggle weapons under the guise of legitimate commerce, using ships, flags and ports of blameless countries. A record of previous attempts can be found at .

Netanyahu stated that "we had a solid basis that onboard the ship was weaponry destined for use against Israel. Considerable weaponry – which was destined for terrorist forces in the heart of Gaza – was found onboard the vessel. The operation was carried out at sea in accordance with all international rules. The weaponry originated in Iran, which is trying to arm the Gaza Strip."