Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dear Friends,

Has there ever been another country in the world which has tolerated the murder of its own citizens by an enemy, calling them “Victims of Peace”? This is what they were called by Yitzchak Rabin after he signed those cursed Oslo Accords with Arafat on the White House lawn in 1993.

Has there ever been another country in the world which has expelled its own citizens from their homes and given away their land to the enemy calling it “Land for Peace”, as has just been done by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his government?

Last Saturday, October 8, 2005, Palestinian Authority Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), laid the cornerstone for a new housing project set to rise from the rubble of the former settlement of MORAG.

The new town will be named Sheikh Khalifa City, in honor of the President of The United Arab Emirates (UAE), who is donating the $100 million its construction will cost. The new town is to have 25,000 residents.

Morag is part of the Biblical birthright of the Jewish people, which includes all of Gush Katif. It is within the boundaries of Shevet Yehuda (the tribe of Judah) in Biblical Israel. (See Genesis 15, Joshua 15:47, Kings 15:47 and Judges 1:18.) The earliest settlement of the area is by Abraham and Isaac, both of whom lived in the Gerar area of Gaza.

Morag was the southernmost settlement in Gush Katif. It was first established in 1972 as a pioneer military outpost (Nachal), which became civilian in 1983 and a religious agricultural worker's cooperative, whose residents earned their living growing flowers and vegetables in hothouses. There were about 40 families with 220 people in Morag. We will now have, in their stead, 25,000 potential Arab terrorists in Sheikh Khalifa City, very close to the new Israeli border.

Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas said on October 8, at the groundbreaking ceremony of Sheikh Khalifa City: “The Palestinian Nation will continue its campaign towards the liberation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, and towards the construction of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

“West Bank” is the late Jordanian King Hussein’s name for Biblical Judea and Samaria. Jerusalem is the first and most important holy place for the Jews and is mentioned over 700 times in the Tanach (Bible), whereas Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran. Significantly, Jews pray facing Jerusalem, while Muslims pray with their backs towards Jerusalem.

It has become evident that, by giving away some of our Biblical inheritance, Sharon has not achieved “Peace”, but rather made it easier for the Arab enemy to destroy the Jewish State (G-d forbid). In fact, as a result of the disengagement from Gaza, Sharon has enabled even Al Qaida, in addition to other terrorists groups, to build a base in Egyptian Sinai. From there, terrorists and a great quantity of weaponry are smuggled into Gaza and from there to Israel. The digging of secret tunnels is no longer necessary, as the Egyptian-Gaza border has become very porous.

IDF Intelligence Chief, Gen. Ze’evi-Farkash, says that Egypt has done nothing whatsoever to stop this illegal traffic. This is a danger not only for Israel but for the United States, as well.

President George W. Bush, in his speech at the National Endowment for Democracy, finally used “Islamic” and “terrorism” in the same sentence. Also, in that same speech, he recognized that Islamic terrorism has at its goal the “destruction of Israel.”

President Bush must also recognize and admit that Islamic terrorism has as its primary goal not only the destruction of Israel, the “Little Satan”, but is even more intent on the destruction of the “Great Satan”, the United States.

It is counterproductive for President Bush and US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, to continue pressuring Israel to give up more of its land to the Arab enemy. Doing so would not be “Land for Peace”, but rather “Land for Increased Terror.”

It is now no longer sufficient to just pray for the “Peace of Jerusalem”. I believe that G-d may want us to prove ourselves deserving of his miracles.

How about asking your Senator or Representative for an appointment for a group of 8-10 people to see him/her at his/her home office in his/her state? You can then express to him/her that you worry about the threat of Arab Terrorism, which you think is as dangerous for America as it is for the Holy Land. It does not matter whether the Representative you meet with is a Democrat or a Republican, they are all up for reelection sometime in the not too distant future.

Contact the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121. Give them your address, and they will give you the location and the phone number of the District Office of your Representative and Senator. You will be surprised how willing they are to meet with you. After all, you are an important voter in their next election campaign!

In this connection, we recommend that you obtain the powerful documentary, “IN THE FACE OF TERROR”. An important segment deals with the testimony of Walid Shoebat, a former Muslim terrorist, who now lives in the US and has converted to Christianity. He speaks about his personal knowledge of the dangers of Arab-Muslim Terror. Mr. Walid Shoebat’s testimony is so damaging to Arab terrorists, that when he speaks in public, he is surrounded by bodyguards. Muslim terrorists are intent on silencing him by any means possible. You may want to send a copy of this DVD to your Representative or Senator when you request a meeting.

To view the trailer of, “IN THE FACE OF TERROR” go to

The DVD is produced by Ilana Gabriel and costs $20 including shipping. To order the DVD, visit our website

With Blessings and Love for Israel,

Ruth Matar
Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
Tel: 972-2-624-9887 Fax: 972-2-624-5380

Friday, October 07, 2005

Ok the Disengagement was Hell.... So let's do it again. This time Bigger.

What? Does 2 + 2 = 5? Apparently, in Israel it does. Read on.

by Richard H. Shulman

Hillel Halkin wrote frequently and vigorously in behalf of Sharon's abandonment plan, right up until its execution. A couple of weeks later, in "Commentary," he started off with, "It was necessary, it would seem, for the disengagement from Gaza to take place for the strategy behind it to be revealed as unworkable." (Not "necessary" for its critics.)

That strategy, he explains, is that Israel can neither remain in the bulk of the Territories, nor arrange with the weak, antagonistic, and untrustworthy P.A. to make a final arrangement. The more the P.A. reflects the will of its people, the worse, for the people have been indoctrinated in irredentism. The greatest danger to Israel, given the current conflict, would be not war but demographic swamping and international de-legitimization. Therefore, Sharon made an initial and unilateral withdrawal, in a process of determining Israel's borders without Arab participation. The new borders eventually would gain international acceptance, Israel would be rid of the restive Arabs, and it could better defend itself.

The world has called that withdrawal a success, but Mr. Halkin calls it an indication of the strategy's failure. It went swiftly enough, but proved costlier than estimated. It would cost ten at least ten billion dollars, compared with the $2 billion for the one already done. The resources to do it on a larger scale would be unobtainable. It would cost ten at least ten billion dollars, compared with the $2 billion for the one already done. The resources and logistics to oppose it on a larger scale would be insurmountable. The trauma from an attempt would be unacceptable and destructive of Zionism. More Israelis would sympathize with the expellees. Dividing the task into phases would draw out the anguish, and therefore also fail.

I think the failure and the costs of the Gaza abandonment are greater, because the fighting is intensifying and the results would be deadlier, thanks to the free pass that abandonment has given to arms smuggling and to movement by terrorists. Halkin has not given up, however. He still wants Israel to pull out of most of Judea-Samaria. He's just scheming for some way to do it. He admits that the P.A. could not establish a viable state even it it had all the
Territories. He suggests that it combine with Jordan.

The answer, he finds, is for the US to declare itself in favor of Israel retaining the major settlement blocs, in conformity with UN Security Council Resolution 242. The rest of the world would accept it as the end of the conflict. Israel would gain a recognized frontier "along militarily tolerable, demographically viable, morally acceptable lines that are also relatively safe from terror." Israelis would accept such a withdrawal.

Arab irredentism would continue to exist, Halkin admits. Hamas still would launch rockets against Israel, and Israel would fire back, but this would be limited. (Why limited? He does not explain.) How much strife would remain depends on how fast the Arabs civilize. "all this, however, will be infinitely preferable to the present state of affairs - and
to any of the other alternatives on offer." This would be a bold step by the US (10/2005.) Why "preferable?" He does not explain.

No, it would be timid, appeasement, one-sided, unrealistic, and based on false assumptions.

Halkin's major errors are to ignore jihad, antisemitism, the Arab presence in Israel, and Jewish entitlement. His minor observations make sense.

Halkin's primary fear is of Arab demographics. Yet he ignores the presence of a large, growing, and increasingly hostile Arab fifth column in Israel. So do most of the nationalists, having become intimidated by politically correct accusations of Kahanism hanging over anyone who were to suggest that the non-loyal Arabs be encouraged to depart.

He treats the Arab-Israel conflict as a land dispute, whereas it is existential. That is why all the plans that are variations of Oslo and Road Map would wreck Israel. The Arab strategy is to whittle Israel down until it can be conquered. Halkin's plan would achieve most of this whittling for jihad, if the State Dept. had the imagination to accept his plan temporarily. He even admits that fighting would continue, only he thinks it would be desultory. He gave no basis for that assumption. It is far likelier that the jihadists would fight harder, with more and improved rockets and more territory to base them in, whether organized by the PLO or its likely successor, Hamas. That is what the Arabs all over the world are gearing up for.

The world is not reasonable. Contrary to what Halkin imagines, antisemitic W. Europe would cheer the Arabs on. Thus Israel would not be "relatively safe from terror."

The pattern is for the world to swallow Israeli concessions and then demand more. Dependence upon a declaration from the perfidious US is naive. Has he not noticed that the State Dept. sides with the Arabs? (The State Dept. didn't want Israel to be established or survive, presses for Israeli withdrawal, and continues aiding the P.A. without an ultimatum to disarm terrorists). Someone should remind Halkin that the Council on Foreign Relations, to which almost all US foreign policy officials belong, issued a position paper proposing that Israel relinquish ALL of the Territories and eastern if not also western Jerusalem. There were no prominent demurrals.

The problem with the supposed Jewish State is its emotional dependency upon gentiles. Sharon is not a believer, and Halkin eschews Jewish self-reliance in favor of what the gentiles will say and do. If Sharon were a believer, he might at least have made Israel's case. Israel has a good case. Instead, Halkin not only lets the world think that Israel is usurping Arab land, he calls that land "occupied." He seems to think that appeasing the world's ignorance and prejudice is more realistic, than speaking up and standing up. I don't.

The only reason he seems to give for retaining major settlement blocs is that the Jews on it would resist moving, making it too costly. There is no basis for him to suppose that the rest of the world cares what it would cost Israel. If he is depending on the rest of the world accepting a partial withdrawal, he is likely to be disappointed. For Israelis, the consequence is likely to be their conquest. He ought to stop playing these games, like Peres, of let's see if we can find a rationale for appeasement. He must uphold Jewish entitlement to the Land of Israel, in at least Israel and Yesha, as the Jewish patrimony recognized in the Palestine Mandate for a Jewish national home.

Put another way, he claims that the cession of most of Yesha to the Arabs would produce "morally defensible borders." Not true. The cessions would be to aggressors. Halkin defines what borders are morally defensible based on what antisemites and other uninformed people think. That is morally indefensible! It reflects the neurosis of my fellow Jews, who look to their unethical enemies for validation instead of to their own, fine, ethical code.

The warfare he foresees from a smaller territorial position would leave Israel less depth and eliminate strategic borders against invasion. He calls that better than the status quo, with its secure borders, but does not explain why. He just asserts it. A plan that is based solely on assertion should be rejected out of hand.

The US Chiefs of Staff study found almost all of the Territories vital for Israel, in providing secure borders. The mountains of Judea-Samaria, like those of the Golan, have natural tank traps, the advantage of heights, strategic depth, and line-of-sight advance warning of advancing forces. The alternative is having enemy forces smack-dab up against
Israeli cities. For Halkin to call a border bereft of most of that "militarily tolerable" is stating an excuse contrary to fact and reason. It is inexcusable. How like the Pollyannaish rationalizing typical of Shimon Peres!

Perhaps, as he believes, Israelis would accept such a border. That does not make it right. That makes them manipulated. Their media deceives them. Intellectuals such as Halkin, who should know better, mislead them. The polls distort their views, which are far less supportive of Halkin's giveaways than he claims. The polls usually put it, in effect "would you be willing to cede this territory, IF the Arabs were to lie down like lambs?" Israelis answer, in effect, "If the Arabs have become utopians, we would sacrifice for peace." Utopian? The Arabs have become demonic - being exhorted to kill Jews as sub-human, just as the Nazis did. Those who report polls and popular opinion fail to include the caveat on which that opinion is based.

Also overly optimistic is Halkin's solution for P.A. non-viability: federation with Jordan. Jordan, itself, is not viable. It depends on foreign subsidy. In any case, federation is likely to put Jordan under control of PLO or Hamas jihadists. The jihadists would gain sizeable territory, a formidable military, a longer border with Israel, and proximity to its southern port. Does Halkin work under the illusion that the Palestinian Arabs would use this
opportunity to better their economic and social condition? They didn't before. I think they, being primitives, would use the opportunity to advance their raison d'etre, jihad. Let Halkin focus on making Israel viable, which means retaining Yesha.

In his article, Halkin refers to Mandatory Palestine. He does not seem to realize that the major part of it was taken away from the Jewish people to become the independent, Palestinian Arab state of Jordan. Therefore, Jewish concession of further territory should not be viewed as a compromise. It really is stealing Jewish patrimony, already compromised.

The status quo, he asserts, is worse than any offer on the table. That's a clever way to put it. It excludes Jewish nationalist solutions, which I think are better for the Jews, better for deterring war, and better against jihad. If Israel pressed its own claims, it would make its own case for entitlement to the whole Territory. It is a good case. After and while making its case, Israel should act on it.

Israel should declare Oslo void, due to Arab violations. It should declare the Map void, due to the Quartet not recognizing Israeli reservations and to the Arabs failing to implement their obligations and to its unsupportable usurpation of Israeli sovereignty. Israel would refer to its authority under the Mandate to settle the Territories with Jews.

Accordingly, Israel should annex not just settlement blocks, but all major settlements and all areas where there are few Arabs. That would start to take care of the demographic threat from the Territories. The annexation would serve notice that the Arabs will not get another Arab Palestinian state there and that they have no future there.

To make sure the Arabs have no future there, Israel would have to stop subsidizing the P.A. in various ways. That means barring P.A. Arabs from working in Israel, including the annexed Jewish towns now in Yesha. The Arabs would have to start moving back out. Similar means should be applied in Israel, after enforcing the law against the Arabs for stealing land, building illegally, withholding taxes, and rioting.

I pray for an end to proposals for unilateral Jewish sacrifice to unrelenting enemies based on false and unexplained assumptions, as if those fanatical enemies would genuinely and fully accept the proposals and make peace. The question is not whether the Arabs would feel constrained, if the US said they had to give up a few percentage points of Judea-Samaria. Their real goal is to end what they consider the occupation by the Zionists of that Jewish entity called Israel.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hey, here's an idea. Let's divide the land up fairly...

It's Crowded Around Here - Uri Elitzur
Central Israel is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. In fact, it is four or five times more crowded than the Gaza Strip, and by the way, it's not a bad place to live in. We make up about 2 1/2% of the Middle Eastern population but we don't even have a quarter of a percent of the land in the Middle East. If Abraham were to come and say, "Yitzhak and Ishmael my sons, you are brothers, stop fighting one another, and divide the land among yourselves fairly, and in proportion to the population size," the Arab nation would have to give us back lands about ten times the size of the State of Israel. (Ynet News)

To read the complete article, just click on the blue, underlined title above.

Did you see these pictures?

It just goes to show, we really are people of the book.

Anyone for an early Simchas Torah?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

How to Give to Pioneers of Gush Katif

In these last few days before Rosh Hashanah, it's always great to give a little more Tzedaka, give a little more money to those who need it.

This year of course, I wanted to give to those poor folks who were thrown out of their homes in Gush Katif. It wasn't as easy as I thought. A lot of the organizations that sprang up to try to defeat the Disengagement, have... well, disengaged. They've shut down.

So, I had to look and make some calls. But now I have the answer.

But before I post it, let me remind some of you that the promises made by the Israeli government to the people of Gush Katif have, so far, not been fullfilled. Yes, I know they were promised about a hundred thousand dollars per family. Maybe it's coming. But so far, nothing has been delivered other than being put up for a few weeks in hotels. And meanwhile they are still liable for their agricultural loans. Which are huge. Kind of unbelievable, I know. But it's true.

So these folks are hurting and they need help.

So, if you'd like to give, I have found the right outlet. And remember, it's always good to give. But now, during Elul, before Rosh Hashanah, before Yom Kippur, the day of Judgement, might be the best time of all.

If you click on the link, it will take you to Katifund. They have many project to give to. But you may want to click on the "Sowing in Faith" button. That will give instructions on how to give to the farmers who are still paying the loans on their destroyed farms.

Click here to give.

Monday, September 26, 2005

You Can't Handle the Truth

It's amazing to me. In a lot of ways, Jews are the toughest folks on the planet. We take a licking and keep on ticking. Sure, a lot of it is G-d's providence, taking care of us.

But still, a lot of it is us. Jews always keep going, keep fighting, keep studying, keep working.

And when it comes to criticism. Sheeesh! Jews are the toughest critics around.

And yet, in the face of a tyrant in Israel throwing Jews out of thier homes to give to terrorists, most Jews worldwide just said... nothing.

Why? Why did the toughest critics ever take a nap?

Why did the toughest people ever accept such nonsense?

The truth is they couldn't handle it. It's that simple. They looked at the situation and found the truth so disturbing, they simply could not face it. So they just pretended that it was fine. Or they ignored it entirely. Is there a precedence for this?

Of course. Look at your childhood. When something terrible happened, something scary, you froze. You know, the deer in the headlights pose.

And what couldn't they accept. The truth. That the Palestinians will never accept peace. That no matter what we give them it will never be enough. And that the only way to defeat them is to say, "This is our land. G-d gave it to us. If you can't behave, you'll have to leave."

We can accept anything esxcept that. Standing up for ourselves and our heritage is too much to handle.

Apparantly, like Nicholson said in A Few Good Men, we just can't handle the truth.

Sad, but true.

American Jews and Gaza


Rael Jean Isaac

Ariel Sharon’s morally indefensible and strategically suicidal policy has been implemented, uprooting long-established prosperous communities, creating deep fissures in Israeli society and giving enormous impetus to Arab terror groups, which rightly see this retreat as their victory.

At the very least, as
Michael Freund has pointed out in The Jerusalem Post, one would have expected a furious debate among American Jews. After all, even Israel’s far-left Avraham Burg, former speaker of the Knesset, declared “this is not a genuine plan, because it was a momentary caprice of the prime minister” and “the process by which the plan was approved smashed to smithereens what little remained of Israel’s political culture…the prime minister gave the boot to every political convention…the disrespect shown by the prime minister and his associates for resolutions passed by his own party – their contempt and utter disregard—destroyed the basic concept of political life.” Surely these are issues sufficiently profound to engage American Jewry. Yet the reaction of organized American Jewry and the overwhelming number of Jewish opinion leaders has been silence or worse yet, active endorsement of Sharon’s bulldozers.

First to the few honorable exceptions. Americans for a Safe Israel, the Zionist Organization of America, Chabad Lubavich and a few small ad hoc groups that sprang up to support Gush Katif vigorously denounced the evictions, Sharon’s betrayal of his supporters and the undemocratic process by which he railroaded through his cruel and arbitrary decision to destroy the very communities that he had repeatedly said were strategically vital to Israel’s future. Among American Jewish newspapers, The Jewish Press and the Jewish Advocate have been vocal in denouncing
Sharon’s actions. Washington based MEMRI [Middle East Media Research Institute] provided a steady drumbeat of warning by translating Arab media and pronouncements of the various terror groups, which described the approaching destruction of the Gaza and Samaria settlements as their victory and promised much more terror to come, with the announced goal of soon eliminating Israel from the planet.

But otherwise? An indifferent silence, acceptance (at best reluctant, i.e. it’s too bad for the people who lose their homes, but it had to be done), or whole-hearted approval. The Anti-Defamation League took out full page ads fawning over
Sharon’s supposed “vision and courage,” lauding “the risks you are willing to take at this crucial time.” In California, even as the terrible process of uprooting and destruction began, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Board of Rabbis of Southern California ran ads in support of “disengagement.” James Tisch, then chairman of the largest American Jewish umbrella organization, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, announced “We unequivocally support disengagement.”

Freund rightly finds the silence of the Orthodox leadership most perplexing and disturbing, for as he notes, their constituency “has perhaps the strongest ties of any group to the Jews of Gush Katif.” But for all their outspoken stands on a range of issues, Orthodox leaders preferred to sidestep the expulsion of Jewish communities from Gaza and northern Samaria. Writes Freund: “And so, in recent months, the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) chose to release just one statement regarding the withdrawal, the same number of statements that were released on issues such as downloading material from the Internet and utilizing gambling as a fundraising tool in the Jewish community.” But while the RCA at least took a stand against gambling, its single statement on destroying the Gush Katif communities did no such thing: all it said was that “if an evacuation occurs, it should be done with the greatest sensitivity and honor.” The Orthodox Union (OU), the voice of Orthodox Jews in the U.S. and Canada, did little better: while it voiced disapproval of the Sharon government’s “indifference to civil liberties,” it refused to condemn the expulsion itself, citing a “diversity of views” within the membership.

The silence of the large Jewish “liberal” left comes as no surprise, even though many of the issues raised by both the policy itself and the
Sharon government’s methods should, in theory, have mobilized this community. Was not the destruction of communities of Jews because they were Jews an example of much excoriated “ethnic cleansing?” If Israel had uprooted thousands of law-abiding Arabs from communities within Israel, would the American Jewish liberal community have been silent? And what about the singling out of religious Jews, who were pulled off city buses simply because they wore kippot and therefore were more likely than others on the bus to be planning to join some demonstration? How does this differ from much-denounced “profiling?” And what about the young children illegally detained to assert pressures on their parents? What about the Sharon government’s undermining of democratic norms that even someone like Burg finds shocking? Predictably, since the victims were Jews, the policy surrender, and the beneficiaries Arab enemies, Jewish American liberals found nothing to criticize.

To this writer, what has been most astonishing – and painful – has been the acquiescence of the Jewish intellectual right, those who should have been counted upon irrefutably to reveal the perils of
Sharon’s policy both for Israel’s survival and the West’s battle with Islamic terrorism. With the honorable exception of a very few, of whom Daniel Pipes is the best known, the record is dismal. Intellectuals who assailed the Oslo accords when the American Jewish leadership flocked to the White House lawn to celebrate the infamous handshake between Rabin and Arafat have lost their critical faculties.

The level of argument in Commentary Magazine, earlier a forum for the most cogent policy analysis, has become embarrassing. In an article resembling the old Norman Podhoretz only by its length, the “new” Podhoretz announces
Sharon’s policy has his support. Why? Because it has the support of President George Bush and he “trusts” George Bush. That’s all, folks! Nor has Commentary opened its pages to a genuine debate, permitting others to lay out the evils of “disengagement.” Rather we are saddled with the perennially addled Hillel Halkin.

Emotional investment in this president -- and commitment to the war in
Iraq as its troubled course leaves him increasingly embattled -- seems to be the underlying reason for the otherwise inexplicable failure to analyze the transparent flaws of Sharon’s policy. How else explain the tortured mental processes of the normally incisive Charles Krauthammer? He embraces the surrender of Gaza on the grounds that it is part of Sharon’s broader strategy of constructing “a fence” to wall off terror and will permit Sharon to say this is “the end of the concession road for Israel.” The absurdity of the terror-ending-fence overwhelms Krauthammer even as he writes and he concedes that fences don’t stop the rockets which Palestinians have been steadily firing from Gaza into towns within what he calls “Israel proper,” i.e. Israel in the armistice lines of 1949. Krauthammer’s answer is for Israel to fire automatically five rockets for every rocket launched at it. Two at the launch sites and three at assets of the militias.

And when a rocket aimed at
Israel falls harmlessly and the five Israel launches inadvertently kill women and children? What will be the world’s response? As for Israel standing pat, waiting for a transformation of Palestinian Arabs, before the destruction of the Gaza communities was even done, Secretary of State Rice was announcing this was merely the beginning of territorial concessions that must now be stepped up. As for President Bush, his comment on the Gaza evictions at his August 14 news conference suggested he had stepped through the looking glass to join Shimon Peres: “I can understand why people think this decision is one that will create a vacuum into which terrorism will flow. I happen to disagree. I think this will create an opportunity for democracy to emerge. And democracies are peaceful.”

People like Podhoretz and Krauthammer have an importance transcending their impact on their own readers for they serve as touchstones for conservative non-Jewish opinion makers who wish Israel well. If people like columnists Rich Lowry (who edits The National Review) and Emmett Tyrrell, who also edits American Spectator, were not intimidated by those whom they view as possessing the highest credentials when it comes to Israel, they would surely educate their own influential readership concerning the folly of Sharon’s government both in imperiling the future of Israel and in paving the way for a terrorist “Hamastan” or “Hezbollahstan.” To be sure there are Christian supporters of Israel who refused to be blindsided, evangelicals like Cal Thomas (his blunt article was called “The End of Israel?” and Joseph Farah, and others like radio host John Batchelor (who actually went to Gush Katif), the always clear-seeing Frank Gaffney, blogger Jack Wheeler, Sean Hannity and Washington Times editor Wes Pruden.

Even those few Jewish newspapers with intelligent, normally sober editors-–like The Jewish Exponent in
Philadelphia and the Connecticut Jewish Ledger--refused to criticize Sharon’s shameless betrayal of his commitments both to the public which elected him and to the Gaza communities he had so long supported. The New York Sun, edited by Seth Lipsky (who purports to be a disciple of Jabotinsky!) was equally disappointing. Thus an August 5 editorial forcibly outlined the consequences of an American retreat in Iraq, quoting Bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa in which he spoke of Somalia and Lebanon and of Americans who “left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you.”

Exactly a week later its editorial on
Israel’s surrender of the Gaza and northern Samaria communities was a wishy washy endorsement arguing it was a retreat “a Jewish democracy has decided…needs to be made.” Yet, as celebrating Hamas terrorists joyfully emphasized, Israel was carrying “disappointment, humiliation, defeat” and yes, the exhumed bodies of those who died there. The Sun’s confused editorial page failed to see the blatant contradiction in its warnings against a terror victory in Iraq and its endorsement of that same victory in Israel. The Sun, for all its merits in many areas, has been a disappointment on Israel, where it has not been the bracing antidote to the New York Times many had hoped it would be. Instead of offering columns by clear thinking Israeli writers like Carolyn Glick, Evelyn Gordon, Sarah Honig or Naomi Ragen, The Sun is the platform for Hillel Halkin, an endless fount of rationalizations for Israeli retreats.

Most disappointing of all is Mortimer Zuckerman, former head of the Conference of Presidents, who actually sharply criticized the “disengagement” in his U.S. News and World Report. Incredibly, he followed this up by raising $14 million in 48 hours via phone calls to his old boy network of fellow Jewish billionaires to buy the
Gaza greenhouses, in order to donate them to the Palestinian Authority (this at the request of current White House Middle East envoy James D. Wolfensohn). The PA is awash in money (most recently $3 billion from the Europeans, propelled by British Prime Minister Tony Blair) but specifically refused to buy the greenhouses on the grounds it wanted no money to go to Jews.

Jews have become refugees in the Jewish homeland. They have lost their homes, their synagogues, their livelihoods. Families of ten have been put up by the Israeli government in single hotel rooms. Some, desperate, highlighted their plight by setting up a tent city along the highway to Tel Aviv. Yet as AFSI’s
Ruth King observes: “What do these numbskulled Jewish philanthropists do instead of helping Jews? This is so sickening it is beyond reprehensible. It is the bottom in Jewish dhimmitude.”

With such “leadership,” and the well-nigh total absence of debate, it is little wonder that the average Jew babbles absurdities. Patrons of a kosher deli in White Plains, New York, asked by a local Jewish paper for their views on “disengagement” came up with infantile responses including “It’s definitely a step toward peace,” “if their [the settlers’] misfortune can bring peace then it’s a small sacrifice,” “eventually disengagement will work.”

Soon the blinders will be off, much more quickly, indeed, than the recovery from the
Oslo delusion. The terrible consequences of “disengagement” will be obvious as the front lines move forward to population centers within the old green line, world pressures for more destruction of thriving Jewish communities intensify, the fissures within Israeli society deepen, terrorism grows in every part of the Land of Israel and the threat from the entire Arab world becomes yet more serious.

When the history of this period is written, the current paralysis of American Jews, left and right, will be a source of incredulity -- and deepest shame.

Rael Jean Isaac is editor of Outpost, a publication of Americans For a Safe Israel/AFSI, and author of Israel Divided and Party and Politics in Israel

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Ladies and Gentlemen, the irrepressable Simon Jacobson:

Tremors: The Dawn of the 21st Century
By Simon Jacobson
And the Living Shall Take to Heart
You rule the pride of the sea; when its waves surge you calm them – Selichot prayer
Five years into the 21st century and we are beginning to get a taste of a new world.
As the year winds down and we begin the supplication prayers (selichot) this Saturday night in preparation for Rosh Hashana, we feel windy tremors around us shaking one end of the globe to the other.

On the American side of the world, as New Orleans and Biloxi begin digging out of the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, Texas and Louisiana are bracing themselves to face the fury of the new Hurricane (named) Rita. This following a devastating Tsunami last December in yet another part of the globe.

On the other side of the world – in the cradle of civilization, in lands with ancient roots saturated with spiritual history – Iraq is in turmoil, Israel is in crisis, Muslim fundamentalism threatens and the sinister unknown is the only thing we can rely on.

Back in the Western world, Middle Eastern agitation is being exported globally as it no longer is contained in boundaries. With the attack of September 11th and then the recent assault on London, terrorism has now become an imminent global threat.

This is the snapshot of our world universe at the dawn of the 21st century. Obviously, much more is happening in the world, with many very positive developments. But to understand our world and define future trends we must be aware of the earthshaking events that affect us all.
What will this new century bring? Are current events a foreboding sign of what lies ahead, G-d forbid?

The dawn of centuries tend to give us a glimpse of events to come. Eerily, at the turn of the 20th century, Galveston, Texas was destroyed by a hurricane. The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 humbled and reminded people not to get haughty as a result of the advancements of the industrial revolution. Then of course came the Russian Revolution, World War I and World War II – major events that changed the entire world. Who could have imagined in 1905 what would be coming? We too stand now at the turn of a century. By studying the forces that shape today’s events, we can anticipate and control our destinies instead of being a victim of circumstances.

Today we have two major advantages over the previous century: The power of retrospect, and the newfound knowledge that we have gained during the last 100 years. We have witnessed, in tragic detail, the depths to which man can fall despite our cultural and political advances. Never in history – even in so called primitive times – had people shed so much blood as they did during the two World Wars. Never before had a “culturally progressive” nation utilized modern technology for methodical and brutal genocide, priding themselves in their efficiency.

The second and perhaps even more important lesson that we have learned in the past century – not a mere lesson, but a revolutionary revelation – is the convergence of matter and spirit. In medicine, physics and the other sciences we now understand the power of the invisible forces that shape and define all matter and all phenomena.

Though this knowledge of the seamlessness between matter and energy has not yet been fully integrated in our lives, especially in our personal lives, nevertheless it is slowly coming to the fore. Because yet another phenomenon of our times is the resurgence of religion as a potent force in modern life and even politics – a most dramatic and unforeseen development.

It is quite an irony that science today has completely embraced the counterintuitive “laws” of quantum mechanics and recognizes that the essential stuff of all existence is comprised of intangible subatomic particles, microscopic DNA and supra-nano cellular structures. And that we live in a dynamic universe, which is integrally connected by an underlying unity. Yet, when it comes to science itself, the debate rages on whether it should be integrated with our personal moral choices. The search for unity would seem to logically dictate that matter and energy are one not just in a laboratory or in a test tube, but also in our personal lives. Yet, the 19th century immature debates between religion and science still haunt us today. Whether it is in the public display of the Ten Commandments, the role of G-d in government, the debate between evolution and intelligent design, we are still struggling with the integration of spirit in our lives.

I propose that this will be one of the great challenges of our new century: How to achieve a balanced life, with harmony between body and soul, and synthesis between our physical needs and our transcendental yearnings.

We will have to address the issue of science and enlightenment in context of the Divine. Can the scientific search for truth be complete without a G-d? Many moral issues will be raised with the new breakthroughs in science and technology. Can a person be content without some form of G-d in his/her life (whether it is called by that name or another)? Questions will abound about the very nature of the human being, sanctity of life, personal rights and privacy vs. the greater good, and many other related and unrelated topics.

Many waves are surging today. Waves of the Gulf of Mexico on one end of the spectrum, and perhaps even stronger swells of Muslim fundamentalism on the other. Waves of information flood us on the air and on the Internet. Scientific advancements are making their own waves, and so is the breakdown of the family and home life.

Due to modern communications waves travel today much faster than ever before, only amplifying their rippling effect. All the events in our times – both positive and catastrophic – can be either ignored or serve as awakeners. As we approach the New Year we are behooved to pay heed to world events, as well as personal ones, and recognize the dissonance that is upsetting the balances of life.
The underlying principle of Torah is that all imbalances – natural or man-made – can be traced back to the imbalance between spirit and matter, between the sublime and the secular, between the sacred and the profane.

One thing for sure is that G-d is not “dead” (as predicted by many). The question is how we will make peace with G-d.

Something to think about as we enter these solemn days.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Land for...? The Cartoon.

You many not be able to read the text below the cartoon. If not, don't worry.

You'll get the main idea.

Gaza's long shadow

By Caroline Glick,
Sep. 15, 2005

Less than a week after the IDF's final retreat from Gaza, Israel's senior military brass found itself warding off attacks on two fronts.In Gaza, now empty of all Jewish presence, the Palestinians lost no time in taking charge of events in their own special way. First came the firebombing of the synagogues. We were asked indignantly by such paragons of virtue as PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, "Well, what did you expect to happen?" As if it should go without saying that the Palestinians will exploit any opportunity to show us their contempt for all things Jewish.

After the firebombing came the looting of the destroyed Jewish communities. Then came the looting of the hothouses which had been bought for the Palestinians by wealthy Jews in the US who decided to buy them so that the Palestinians could reap what their expelled Israeli brethren had sown.

Sometime between destroying the abandoned synagogues, looting the destroyed Jewish villages, tearing apart the hothouses, throwing grenades at IDF patrols guarding Moshav Netiv Ha'asara and shooting mortars at Sderot, the Palestinians discovered Egypt. At the direction of Hamas, and with the help of PA militias and Egyptian soldiers, thousands of Palestinians crossed the wall separating Palestinian Rafah from Egyptian Rafah. Among the merrymakers, unknown numbers of terrorists crossed back and forth shuttling arms and reinforcements into Gaza in unknown quantities. IDF commanders looked on, and impotently stated that there is a high probability that al-Qaida operatives are among the newcomers. Oh well.

For his part, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz fecklessly railed against the Palestinians and Egyptians for doing nothing to seal the border. The beautiful agreement he negotiated with Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman fell apart in 30 seconds and suddenly Mofaz was faced with the meaning of retreat: When you retreat, others take over and you have no ability to stop them because you are not there. Oh well.

The Palestinians minced no words about their goals for the future. Hamas wants to liquidate all of Israel. Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said on Tuesday, "We know our nation is expecting us to continue the liberation journey until the flag of Islam is raised over Jerusalem. This land should not have any Zionists on it." That is, Zahar called for genocide. Oh well.

As the IDF was attempting to make sense of the new security insanity forced upon it by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Sharon himself was ignoring the reality he created back home as he basked in the glory bestowed upon him in New York by US President George W. Bush for his "courageous" surrender to Palestinian terrorism.

Yet, before our generals had a chance to catch their breath, they received a gut punch from an unforeseen direction.On Tuesday, Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog tried to go to London. But once his El Al plane landed he was alerted by the Israeli embassy that if he alighted at Heathrow he would likely be arrested. An anti-Zionist British-Israeli "human rights" lawyer by the name of Daniel Machover, in cooperation with the Israeli group Yesh Gvul, filed a lawsuit against Almog charging him with war crimes in a British court. So alerted, Almog stayed on the plane and went home.

Triumphant, Yesh Gvul's spokesmen in Israel announced that in addition to Almog, they were in the midst of filing complaints for war crimes with British courts against eight other senior IDF commanders. Among them are former chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon and current Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz. Hearing this, Ya'alon cancelled his plan to fly to London next week.

According to Yediot Aharonot, the Israeli defense establishment is in a state of hysteria over the attacks on its senior officers. Left-wing commentators and Ha'aretz's editorial board are ecstatic. Like Yesh Gvul, these extreme leftist media gurus have been arguing, without legal merit, since the late 1980s that Israel has no right to defend itself in Judea, Samaria or Gaza. Adopting the baseless Palestinian claims, these legalistic deviants say that somehow the fact that the Fourth Geneva Convention states that Israel must protect the rights of non-combatants in these areas means that Israel cannot take military action to secure its nationals and its national interests beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

The fact that a simple reading of the texts shows this to be untrue makes no difference to these political radicals masked as bleeding- heart liberals.

In recent years, these anti-Zionist Israelis have received aid and comfort from such organizations as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN in their quest to demonize their country and criminalize its right to self-defense. Fabricating the laws of war from whole cloth to advance their political agendas, these organizations have given the weight of law to legally meaningless UN General Assembly resolutions and human rights reports.

Assigning legal power to these political groups, the extreme Left in Israel has created a fiction which many American jurists refer to today as "lawfare" or the exploitation of the rhetoric of international law to prosecute a political war against a state to politically deny it of its legal right to defend itself.Yesh Gvul is arguably a criminal organization. For years it has been running public campaigns to convince soldiers to refuse to serve in the IDF. This is a criminal offense. And yet, the State Prosecutor's Office has refused to open any investigation against its members.

This is not surprising because for years now, the state prosecution has been led by men and women, many of whom are now Supreme Court justices, who sympathize with the views of those waging "lawfare" against Israel. Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz's latest statements, where he criticized the government for deciding Sunday not to destroy the synagogues in Gaza are a case in point.

Where is the legal question here? There is none. But in a legal world where law is just a means to advance a political agenda, no one questions his right to weigh in on such issues.Then there is the Supreme Court's latest outrage. Thursday, in an opinion written by President Aharon Barak, the court determined that the International Court of Justice's advisory opinion last summer on the legality of the security fence should be given legal weight.

The fact that there is no basis whatsoever in Israeli law for giving legal weight to an advisory opinion from that politicized court of anti-Israel justices is completely unimportant. The fact that the opinion itself claimed that Israel has no right to self-defense is also irrelevant. Barak claimed that the problem was just that the ICJ hadn't received the evidential basis for Israel's security needs and as a result judged as it did last July.Within this poisonous legalistic morass, Israel's generals now find themselves under fire.

What can be done? The first thing that must be firmly understood is that the battle being launched against them in the British courts has nothing to do with law. It is simply part of the political campaign against Israel that these anti-Zionists wage as adjunct and a complement to the Palestinian terrorists on the ground. As the Palestinians use bomb belts and rockets, these extremists use politicized courtrooms to launch their campaign against Israel.

The immediate political response to this offensive was made by Dr. Yuval Steinitz, the chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. This week he submitted a bill to criminalize filing legal claims in foreign courts against members of Israel's security forces for missions they undertook in defense of the country.

This is a welcome initiative, but it misses the larger point. For the past 12 years, Israel has abandoned the offense in the political war being waged against it. Steinitz's bill is reflective of this trend in two ways. First, without a serious reform of the State Prosecutor's Office and the manner in which justices are chosen, (today they largely select themselves), there is little chance that laws on the books will be enforced against anti-Zionist political activists who seek to destroy Israel's reputation and weaken Israel's social cohesion.Aside from this, the initiative is defensive in nature. Perhaps these people will be prosecuted, but so what? They will still be setting the political agenda with their wild legal fantasies.

Against their onslaught, the time is long past for Israel to go on the offensive. And the laws of war, as they stand are a good place to start.Zahar's statement, and hundreds like it made by Hamas commanders over that past dozen years, proves unequivocally that the terror group is engaged in a campaign of genocide.

According to the International Convention on Genocide, every state signatory must arrest and try any member of Hamas or anyone providing direct or indirect assistance to Hamas that is present on its territory. The PA, for instance, in refusing to take action against Hamas and in paying salaries to Hamas terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails, is guilty of assisting Hamas in its genocidal campaign against Israel. As a result, any PA functionary found on the territory of any state signatory to the Genocide Convention should be arrested.

If instead of simply collecting photo-opportunities for his campaign for Likud leadership, Sharon had argued this point at the UN, his presence in New York as Gaza is transformed into Taliban Afghanistan would have made sense. But the fact that Sharon continues to doggedly refuse to do anything that would actually advance Israel's national interest doesn't mean that others shouldn't take on the task with as much enthusiasm as Yesh Gvul and its British bedfellows work to undermine Israel's right to exist. It isn't that in the current anti-Israel international climate such arguments regardless of their legal merit will make an immediate difference. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be made loudly, at very opportunity.

Israel's military options for dealing with Gaza's rapid transformation into a base for international terrorism are limited in the wake of its self-inflicted defeat. What Yesh Gvul did this week was to point out the path for widening Israel's room for military maneuvering. That path is the path of political warfare.As the shadow of Gaza grows and expands to Judea and Samaria and the rest of the country, Israel is faced with an increasingly dangerous situation.

Without a concerted international and domestic campaign to defend its rights, Israel will find itself without the means to justify its right to survive.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Kabbalist Urges Jews to Israel Ahead of Upcoming Disasters

Now this is a pretty wild one, so I really debated posting it. But I really think this is something that all Jewish people should atleast be aware is being bandied about.

Besides, you've got to love Rav Kaduri. The guy is over 100 and is not too concerned with political correctness. And by the way, he's one of the Rabbis today who is probably a Tzaddik. In fact, I can't think of anyone else I'd put in that category. So, even if you're a little skeptical, please read this with an open mind. It's also pretty fascinating.

18:00 Sep 14, '05 / 10 Elul 5765
By Baruch Gordon

Israel's leading known Kabbalistic Elder, Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri called upon worldwide Jewry Tuesday night to return to Israel due to the natural disasters which threaten to strike the world.

In a class between between the Mincha (afternoon) and Maariv (evening) prayers at his Jerusalem yeshiva seminary, Rabbi Kaduri issued the following call:
”This declaration I find fitting to issue for all of the Jews of the world to hear. It is incumbent upon them to return to the Land of Israel due to terrible natural disasters which threaten the world.

In the future, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will bring about great disasters in the countries of the world to sweeten the judgements of the Land of Israel.

I am ordering the publication of this declartion as a warning, so that Jews in the countries of the world will be aware of the impending danger and will come to the Land of Israel for the buliding of the Temple and revelation of our righteous Mashiach (Messiah).”

Israel's Leading Known Kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri.

Rabbi Kaduri also stated that the upcoming year would be a year of "secret and revelation" in the world. The Jewish year 5766 begins in less than three weeks, with the holiday of Rosh Hashana.

The Rabbi explained that the numerical Hebrew abbreviation for 5766, tav, shin, samech, vav gives insight into the nature of the upcoming year. "This will be a year of secret (or sod, from the letter samech) and revelation (or v'giliu from the letter vav.

Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio show host Yehoshua Meiri first publicized the declaration on his Hebrew radio show late Tuesday night. Meiri, who attended the class, typed out the words of Rabbi Kaduri's declaration and presented them back to the Rabbi who signed on the document.

Associates of Rabbi Kaduri were dispatched to communicate the Kabbalistic Elder's call to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon before the latter's departure to the United States later in the same night.

Meiri says he will publicize the signed declaration after Prime Minister Sharon delivers a speech in the U.S., in which he is expected to call upon the Jews of the Diaspora to make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel.

Rabbi Kaduri greets the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
During a visit in 1990 with the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (of blessed memory), Rabbi Kaduri was told by the Rebbe that he would live to see the coming of the Mashiach.

Earlier this Jewish year, Rabbi Kaduri predicted great tragedies in the world. Just two weeks before the devastating tsunami in southeast Asia, Rabbi Kaduri was quoted in the Yediot Acharonot newspaper as saying:

"We are now in the fourth year of what could be the seven-year Redemption period, according to the calculation of the Vilna Gaon. [However.] in the coming three years, uncertainty about the future will hang over our heads, unless we work and strive that the Mahiach be revealed.

The Mashiach is already in Israel. Whatever people are sure will not happen, is liable to happen, and whatever we are certain will happen may disappoint us. But in the end, there will be peace throughout the world. The world is mitmatek mehadinim (or becoming sweet from strict justice).

Great tragedies in the world are foreseen, that's the thing of the Jews going to the East. But our enemies will not prevail over us in the Land of Israel, 'fear and trembling will fall upon them,' in the power of Torah."

Rabbi Kaduri said in the week prior to the interview, "What can save the world from calamities is real repentance by Jews, who must increase acts of kindness towards one another... The cry of the many poor in Israel and the expulsion of Jews from their homes shakes the world... It's not for naught that this place was hit, where many of our compatriots went to look for this-worldly lusts."

The month of Elul, which immediately preceeds the Jewish New Year is traditionally a month of teshuva, or repentence by the Jewish people, in anticipation of the judgments that are incurred on the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

Rabbi Kaduri has told his students that the current government will be the last one of the "old era." He is on record as saying that Sharon will be the last prime minister in Israel, and that the new government will already have leadership of the Messianic era.

New UN Document Refutes Palestinian Claims

You've got to read this. The UN is normally totally against Israel. If you don't think so, then you are simply uninformed. However, regardless of this inherent bias, facts don't lie. Check it out.

Part I

By Israel Zwick

On September 7, 2005, the UN Development Programme released its Human Development Report 2005 ( If carefully reviewed, this report has widespread implications for the Arab-Israeli conflict. While the UN is eager to condemn Israel for violating Palestinian rights, its own data suggests otherwise. The data disputes Palestinian claims that they are suffering as a result of a harsh Israeli military occupation. On the contrary, the Palestinians have actually benefited from their association with the State of Israel and their difficulties are the result of self-inflicted wounds. Palestinian problems stem from their intolerance, hostility, violence, and corruption, not from Israeli occupation. Those in the world who are concerned about the “plight of the Palestinian refugees” should carefully review this report. They may want to reconsider their support for establishing a Palestinian state. Two other reports from the UNDP, the Arab Human Development Report 2004, and HDR 2004, also raise serious questions regarding the wisdom of establishing a Palestinian State in lands currently controlled by Israel.

The mammoth 372 page report is titled Human Development Report 2005: International cooperation at a crossroads. The introductory material notes that 2.5 billion people in the world, which is 40% of the world’s population, are living on less than $2 per day. About half of that population, 20% of humanity, is living on less than $1 per day (p.4, 24). The report emphasizes the significance of violent conflict as a barrier to progress: “Conflict undermines nutrition and public health, destroys education systems, devastates livelihoods, and retards prospects for economic growth…Part of the challenge posed by human insecurity and violent conflict can be traced to weak, fragile, and failing states. Compounded failures to protect people against security risks, to provide for basic needs and to develop political institutions perceived as legitimate are standing features of conflict-prone states.” (p.12). The report observes that in 2003 there were 29 ongoing violent conflicts, down from 51 in 1991. In Sudan alone, the conflict has claimed two million lives and displaced 6 million people (p.153). Yet the focus of world sympathy and concern seems to be directed towards 3 million Arabs living in Israeli territories who are receiving the highest amount of aid in the world on a per capita basis.

The HDR 2005 views human progress through a human development index (HDI) which is a composite indicator of three dimensions of human welfare: income, education, and health. The HDI is a barometer for changes in human well-being and for comparing progress in different regions (p.21). The numerous tables include data for 175 UN member countries, along with Hong Kong, China (SAR), and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Countries and areas are ranked in descending order by their HDI value (p.211.) The report notes that “large gaps between wealth and HDI rankings are usually an indicator of deep structural inequalities that block the transmission from wealth creation to human development. They also point to shortcomings in public policy, with governments failing to put in place strategies for extending opportunities among poor, marginalized, or disadvantaged groups” (p.24).

While the world laments over the treatment of Arabs at Israeli checkpoints, 10 million children die each year before their fifth birthday. More than 850 million people in the world are suffering from malnutrition and its effects (p.24). The risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes ranges from 1 in 18 in Nigeria to 1 in 8,700 in Canada (p.32). Sub-Saharan Africa had almost 100 million more people living on less than $1 per day in 2001 than in 1990. In contrast, the share of people living on less than $1 per day in the Middle East and North Africa decreased from 5.1% in 1981 to 2.4% in 2001. The report observes that “Aid has not always played a positive role in supporting human development, partly because of failures on the side of aid recipients and partly because donor countries have allowed strategic considerations to override development concerns” (p.75).

The HDR chapter that is most relevant to the Arab-Israeli conflict is Chapter 5, dealing with violent conflict. The chapter opens with a quote from UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, “What begins with the failure to uphold the dignity of one life all too often ends with a calamity for entire nations.” The report notes that since 1990 more than 3 million people have died in armed conflict, mostly in developing countries. About 25 million people are currently internally displaced because of conflict or human rights violations (p.151). Yet the most international aid is still directed towards 3 million Arabs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the State of Israel is most often cited by the UN for human rights violations. The data provided by HDR 2005 suggests that the difficulties experienced by the Palestinian Arabs largely results from their own policies, not from oppression by the State of Israel.

The Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are cited as an example of how human development is being reversed (p.158). In the 1990’s the OPT registered some improvement in human development but the second intifada beginning in Sept. 2000 resulted “in a sharp deterioration in living standards and life chances.” The poverty rate more than doubled from 20% in 1999 to 55% in 2003. The town of Nablus was cited as a prosperous commercial hub prior to September 2000. The intifada resulted in shops closing, workers selling their tools, and farmers selling their land (p.158). HDR observes that “violent conflict is one of the surest and fastest routes to the bottom of the HDI table” (p.154). “Violent conflict creates losses that are transmitted across whole economies, undermining the potential for growth. With fewer assets and less capacity to respond to losses in income and assets, poor people are especially vulnerable to the economic impact of the conflict” (p.155).

Much of the blame for the deterioration in human conditions is placed on government failures: “The collapse of effective authority in some countries has undermined capacity to prevent and resolve conflict. Governments lacking either the means or the will to fulfill their core functions, including territorial control, provision of basic services, management of public resources and protection of the livelihoods of the poorest people, are both a cause and consequence of violent conflict…In security terms, a cohesive and peaceful international system is far more likely to be achieved through the cooperation of effective states…than in an environment of fragile, collapsed, fragmenting or generally chaotic state entities” (p.162).

The most revealing data in HDR 2005 can be found in the tables beginning on page 211. The 177 countries in the HDI are classified into three clusters by achievement in human development: high human development with an HDI of 0.8 or above, medium human development with an HDI of 0.5 to 0.8, and low human development with an HDI of less than 0.5. The data is based on information from the year 2003. In these tables, Israel is listed in the high cluster with a rank of 23 and HDI of 0.915 (p.219). The Occupied Palestinian Territories are in the medium cluster with a rank of 102 and HDI of 0.729 (p.220). That means that there are 75 countries listed below OPT. Overall, the Arab states have an HDI of 0.679 which suggests that the Arabs living in OPT have better human conditions than their counterparts in other Arab-Muslim countries.

Even more revealing are the income and poverty tables (p.228). On the Human Poverty Index, the OPT is ranked seventh on a list of 103 developing countries. It is on par with Cuba, Singapore, and Colombia. The other Arab countries are ranked below the OPT. Wealthy Saudi Arabia is ranked 32. Egypt is ranked 55.

The table on page 281 lists the amount of official development assistance (ODA) received among the 177 HDI areas. OPT received 288.6 US$ per capita in 2003, which is the second highest amount in the entire list. Only Cape Verde received more, with 305.7 US$ per capita. Yet, because of violent conflict, the OPT experienced a decline in HDI. This suggests that all of this aid was not being used to improve human welfare in the OPT. On page 312, there is a table titled, “Gender inequality in economic activity.” The OPT has the lowest rate of female economic activity among the 177 countries, with a rate of 9.6%, or 14% of the male rate. This suggests that almost all of the aid money is going to provide employment for males. This may explain how the various militias in OPT are being funded. The implication is that the high amount of aid going to OPT is funding militias and promoting violent conflict instead of improving the lives of the population. Israel, as the occupying power, should be absolved of any blame because the area is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Arabs are suffering from deep, self-inflicted wounds, not from Israeli occupation. The population would not benefit from the establishment of an independent state that would only continue a policy of intolerance, discrimination, corruption, and violence.

In the interest of brevity, this article is being divided into two parts. Part II, which will be released on Tuesday, Sept 20, will deal with the other two UNDP reports: the Arab HDR 2004, from April 5, 2005 and HDR 2004 from July 15, 2004. Interested readers are encouraged to obtain both reports from

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Now is the time.

I saw this little bit on Isracast. Take a look.

"Sharon To U.N.:
‘Now Is Time For Palestinians To Decide On Peaceful
Co-Existence With Israel Or With Hamas, They Can’t Have Both’

Israeli Officials:
‘International Leaders Must Tell Palestinians
They Must Reject Terrorists If They Want State’ "

Well, I think I have a third statement.
Upsidedown World to Israel:

A Positive Sign

When the Jews in Gaza were thrown out by their fellow Jews I was beside myself. I thought the worst and I must confess, I'm not far away from there still.

But there are positive things emerging from that time. And I think it's important to highlight those things.

IDF Officers Making Contact With the Residents They Expelled

By Hillel Fendel

Several incidents have been recorded in which IDF soldiers who took part in the Gush Katif/Shomron expulsion have called their "victims" to express sadness, regret, or just a desire to talk.
Yochai Greenglick of Shilo relates the following story:
"On the day of the expulsion from N'vei Dekalim, I was in the home of Dr. Sodi Namir,

where I had spent the previous ten days. During the actual expulsion, I was injured when the soldiers burst open a glass door onto me. After we were evicted from the house, Dr. Namir stitched me up in the clinic.

"Before the stitching, however, I was the last one to remain in the house, with about 40 army officers there, and I began to speak with them. I told them about the face-to-face campaign that had begun the year before, in which we [religious, anti-disengagement people] went from house to house to talk with Israelis with whom we generally have little contact. I told them that after this expulsion is over, I know that we will continue to try to do this work, and that I hoped that they too would be willing to do their part and open their doors. I gave them my phone number, and invited them to call me.

"They wrote down my number - and this Monday [the day of the official end of
Israel's presence in Gaza, and nearly four weeks after the expulsion - ed.], one of them in fact called and said he would like to meet with me. He emphasized that he was not speaking only for himself, but in the name of many other army officers as well. 'Maybe it's too early for you,' the officer told me, 'but when you're ready to talk, then we would like to as well.' We will probably meet within a few days...

"It's not that I am forgiving, or even giving legitimacy to what he did, but it's rather an understanding that our nation will continue to live together and we are likely to face further such problems."

"What do you think they want? Why do you feel they called you?" this reporter asked Yochai. He responded, "I think it's very hard for them; it sort of just ended very abruptly, with no closure. I think they feel obligated to fix something..."

For others, the wounds are still too raw for them to speak to the soldiers who performed the actual throwing them out of their homes. Tzion Ohayon, banished from his family home in N'vei Dekalim, received a phone call this week from two soldiers who took part in his expulsion. One of them said he is sorry for what happened, and asked how he could help. Ohayon, still homeless in
Jerusalem, said he is not willing to forgive. To the second one who called, he said, "I am not willing to talk with someone wearing an army uniform."

Ohayon's father-in-law Eliyahu El-Natan, from the now-non-existent Moshav Gadid, received a call from the commander who threw him out of his house, wishing to express regret for his actions. "The army is broken from what happened," Ohayon said. "I think they're trying to help themselves more than they're trying to help us."

Yoni and Noa Katzover received a phone call from a Border Guard officer who evicted them from their house in Chomesh. "He asked how we are doing," Yoni said, "and told us of the hardships he's undergoing. He told us of his 10-year-old nephew who refuses to talk with him, and how he broke down crying in the middle of the Kiddush [pre-Sabbath-meal blessing]. He also told us about some of his soldiers who have requested emotional counseling."

A female officer wrote a letter of apology to the Goldshmidt family, which she helped throw out of its home in Ganei Tal. In a subsequent phone call, she said that if not for the threats and heavy pressures that the IDF exerted upon the soldiers, she would not have agreed to take part in the disengagement.

Her letter states, "...For a long time now, ever since that Tuesday in Ganei Tal, I have been walking around with a heavy burden of depression. Something like all the soldiers who took part in the evacuation of Gush Katif and northern Shomron. I suffered a deep emotional wound, and I regret every moment... I am sorry about the whole evacuation process, and I am sorry that I had to stand there opposite you and hold back my tears, even though I felt totally that I am one of you. I am sorry for the misery that was caused to you and to all the other families in your wonderful community...

"I felt at that moment [in your house] hatred and anger to the governmental elements that sent us on this difficult mission, that made us look like robots towards you, towards great people like you..."