Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An Israeli diplomat expelled? But look who the British government won't get rid of !!

The following article from the Daily Telegraph UK is reprinted in its entirety to illustrate the hypocracy of the UK government

By Douglas Murray : March 23rd, 2010

So the British government has decided to expel an Israeli diplomat over the alleged forging of British passports relating to the assassination of a Hamas terrorist in Dubai on January 20.

We are told that the British government believes British passport holders would be at risk as a result of the assassination of the Hamas terrorist.

So it is interesting to record just some of the people whom the British government will not expel and who it must therefore believe pose no threat whatsoever to British passport holders.

Abu Qatada: known as Osama bin Laden’s ambassador to Europe. He has been in London since 1993. He came here on a forged UAE passport. In 1999 he was convicted in absentia in Jordan for conspiracy to cause explosions, relating to an attempted bomb attack on an American school and a car bomb explosion outside an Amman hotel that was frequented by tourists in 1998. He was also convicted in absentia of conspiracy to cause explosions at Western and Israeli targets in Jordan, to coincide with the millennium New Year celebrations.

Farj Hassan al-Saadi: entered the UK illegally in March 2002. He was added to the United Nations Sanctions Committee’s permanent register of al-Qaeda and Taliban members in November 2003. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that his cell ‘clearly was a group of men with extremist Islamist views supportive of violence against the West which had been acting together for some time in the ways we have set out including recruiting for Al Qaeda, raising money for terrorist activities and obtaining false documents for that purpose. This group can properly be regarded as a serious terrorist group’ and al-Saadi was ‘a highly respected member of the group and that he may well have been its leader for a while’. On 7 February 2008, he was found guilty in absentia in Italy of belonging to a terrorist group and being part of a terrorism plot in 2002. At the trial, he was described as the ‘European envoy’ of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Ismail Kamoka: a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group who arrived in the UK in November 1994 from Saudi Arabia, claiming asylum. His claim was based on the fact that he could not return to Libya because he belonged to a group there which aimed to overthrow the government and replace it with an Islamist one. When attempting to claim asylum in the UK he said he had been to Pakistan in 1992 to take part in jihad against communists in Afghanistan. Despite having his asylum claim refused, he was not removed from the UK as it was deemed unsafe for him to return to Libya. He was granted leave to remain in the UK in November 1999. On 21 November 2002 Kamoka was arrested while trying to travel to Iran from London Heathrow. On 23 November he was detained under Section 21 of the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 and was recommended for deportation. He successfully appealed this to the SIAC in 8 March 2004, as they were unconvinced that Kamoka was linked to al-Qaeda and had knowingly supported extremists linked to al-Qaeda. He was released on 18 March 2004 following a failed government appeal against the decision. In June 2007, he was convicted in the UK of terrorist offences.

I for one am deeply grateful to the UK government for their sudden concern for the sanctity of UK passports and the security of UK passport holders. Though it may be a little late in the day, has the Government thought about turning this concern towards people who actually are terrorists?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Palestinian Economy Thrives in West Bank

Israel has adopted a series of measures to ease and support economic activity in the West Bank, as well as the capacity-building process in such spheres as security, various aspects of governance, the establishment of a legal and judicial system, and the strengthening of the banking system.

Economic growth in the West Bank reached about 8% in 2009.

Trade between Israel and the West Bank dropped by 4.05% in 2009 as compared with 2008, and constituted 70% of all the trade of the West Bank. The volume of trade with Israel stood at 13,594 million NIS.

The total trade of the West Bank grew by 2.75% in 2009 as compared with 2008. The total trade (including Israel) stood at 19,310 million NIS in 2009.

Palestinian imports from the world (not including Israel) registered an increase of 25% in 2009 as compared with 2008.

Palestinian exports to the world (not including Israel) registered a drop of 2.3% in 2009 as compared with 2008.

The transfer of tax money from Israel to the Palestinian Authority is being conducted in an orderly fashion on a monthly basis. In 2009, Israel transferred to the Palestinian Authority (after deduction of payments owed by the Palestinians) 4,272 million NIS as compared with 3,918 million NIS in 2008. The increased amount constitutes another indicator of the growth in the Palestinian Authority's economic activity.

Other indicators point at the growth of economic activity: an increase of 41% in truck movement between Israel and the West Bank; an increase of 29% in fuel consumption and of 7.6% in diesel fuel consumption in mid-2009 in comparison with the parallel period in 2008. The significant rise in automobile imports into the West Bank is also continuing.

A survey undertaken by the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics among business people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in December 2009 points to an increase in optimism among manufacturers and businesspeople.

Tourism: This past Christmas more than 60,000 tourists visited Bethlehem and there was systematic coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel to ensure and coordinate the movement of tourists to and from Bethlehem.

The Palestinian Campaign to Boycott Israeli Products Made in the Settlements

There is concern about the Palestinian Authority's campaign to boycott Israeli products made in the settlements. This campaign is being budgeted by the Palestinian Authority at the amount of 150,000 dollars from its budget – i.e., from funds provided by the donor countries. The campaign is generating a most negative atmosphere of boycotting Israeli goods in general and does not abide by the WTO rules of trade. Moreover, it is harming the livelihood of 30,000 Palestinian workers who are employed by Israeli employees in the West Bank, and could be interpreted by the local population as a permit for violence against Israel and Israeli targets.

Steps Taken by Israel to Support Palestinian Economic Activity

§ Increasing the hours when the Allenby Bridge Terminal is open to the passage of goods and pedestrians (a pilot effort that was recently extended and will continue through the summer).

§ Upgrading the Gilboa-Jalameh crossing point in the northern part of the West Bank for vehicular traffic (opened on 13 October 2009). About 1500 cars enter the West Bank through this crossing point every weekend. Since the crossing point was opened to vehicles, the economy of Jenin has grown by 30-35%. The income deriving from the entry of Israeli Arabs into the towns of Jenin, Tulkarm, Jericho, and Bethlehem is estimated to be around 8 million NIS every weekend. In November and December, over 30,000 vehicles entered through the Gilboa crossing point alone. The permit for Israeli Arabs to enter the West Bank with their vehicles through various crossing points constitutes a significant contribution to the local economic activity.

§ Removal of roadblocks and barriers: Since 2008, the number of major checkpoints was reduced from 41 to 14. From April 2008 until today 209 roadblocks were removed. Ten of the barriers that were removed this past January are on Route 60, the major north-south artery in the West Bank.

§ This past year considerable sums of money were invested in upgrading the crossing points for goods between Israel and the West Bank, so that they could manage the movement of trucks in short periods of time and with efficiency. During 2010, 8 million dollars have been invested (with USAID funding) in upgrading the Gilboa and Shaar Ephraim crossing points for goods.

§ Beginning in January 2010, the hours of operation at the Tarqumiya crossing point for goods were extended, a measure which enables Palestinian merchants to increase the number of shipments which are sent on a daily basis to Israeli ports.

§ The quadrilateral dialogue headed by Japan to establish an agro-industrial zone in Jericho is continuing. An additional meeting will be held on 17 March.

§ Israel is acting to assist the French initiative to establish an industrial zone in Bethlehem and is acting in full cooperation with the French President's envoy to move the project forward.

§ Israel maintains close working ties with the Quartet's Envoy, Tony Blair, and his team to handle and promote economic projects and measures that support economic activity, including the issue of the access road to the town of Rawabi.

§ The Israeli security network maintains close ties with General Dayton and is doing all that it can to assist the process of building the capabilities of the Palestinian security forces. Israel participates in a quadrilateral monitoring forum which convenes pursuant to the Berlin Conference and discusses subjects pertaining to the development of Palestinian capabilities in civilian security as well as in building capabilities pertaining to the law and to the judicial system.

The Gaza Strip

Israel is committed to enabling the supply of humanitarian needs to the Gaza Strip and is operating the crossing points to enable humanitarian movement. The basket of goods entering the Gaza Strip is large and responds to humanitarian needs. Israel enables the orderly departure of sick people and those who accompany them to receive medical treatment in Israel and outside the country.
There is no shortage in the Gaza Strip, due in part to the flow of goods and raw materials through the tunnels.

The abducted Israeli, Gilad Shalit, has been in Hamas hands for almost 4 years and is denied access required under international law. Hamas is a terrorist organization that refuses to meet the three conditions of the Quartet.

Israel enables the transfer of cash to international organizations operating in the Gaza Strip and the transfer of shekels to pay the wages of Palestinian Authority employees (about 70,000 in number). There is no shortage of cash in the Gaza Strip.

Israel enables the supply of diesel fuel to the power plant in the Gaza Strip and also enables the entry of teams for plant maintenance, the entry of spare parts, and the removal of parts for repairs and their return to the Gaza Strip.

Recently, the entry of glass into the Gaza Strip began, to enable the repair of homes that were damaged during Operation Cast Lead against Hamas. More than 100 trucks carrying glass have entered thus far into the Gaza Strip and this is continuing.

Israel has advanced contacts with the UN Secretary-General's envoy, Robert Serry, to approve the carrying out of humanitarian infrastructure projects in the Gaza Strip, with emphasis on water and sewage.

Israel enables strawberries and carnations to leave the Gaza Strip for markets abroad.

Israel enabled in recent months the entry of cement and construction materials for the reconstruction of buildings and for various humanitarian projects. From May 2009 through January 2010, 1,352 tons of building materials entered the Gaza Strip. Israel approved the entry of an elevator for the maternity hospital al-Awad (15 February).

Recently, Israel arranged the matter of transferring social security payments to beneficiaries in the Gaza Strip.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Come On - It's Only a Funeral !!

This week was a sad, sad week. Our daughter in law’s Mother sadly passed away at a very young age. A woman of incredible strength of character who spent the last 18 months of her life according to her own plans down to the last detail.

Now why write a blog on such a subject? As is typical of such a woman, she had decided prior to her death that her final resting place should be on the Mount of Olives, a place where other members of the family were buried nearly a hundred years ago.

Such a decision is not a simple one in this troubled region. The day of the funeral coincided with the “Day of Rage” called by the extremist factions of the Palestinians in Jerusalem to protest that the official opening of the Hurva synagogue in the old city which was, it was claimed, “the first step in the building of the third temple”. Such rumours have always, in the past, motivated the Palestinians to violence, a classic example being the genocide and sacking of the Jewish community of Hebron in 1929.

To respect the wishes of the deceased, plans were made for the funeral. Following many words spoken by the family members in the funeral parlour, the mourners made their way to two protected buses and started the journey to the final testing place. The planned route immediately had to be changed as violence had broken out in one of the neighbourhoods through which we had planned to pass.

After stopping to consult with the police, who were to be seen everywhere and needed to be assured it was only a funeral we were planning to attend; the procession proceeded with a security escort to the Mount of Olives, where the final burial took place. It seems that one family who tried to follow the buses made a wrong turning and ended up with their car being stoned. They did not make it to final burial service.

Speaking to one of the security personal as we waited for everyone to board the buses for the return journey, I was told that several factions of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem are constantly trying to incite trouble, with calls from the mosques and the media to the general population go out on to the streets and cause trouble. Our security services are doing a great job in keeping this under control.

Thankfully, the return journey, again with security escort, was uneventful. I was told that other funerals planned later in the morning were not so lucky.

Such is life in this troubled land

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Israel’s National Science Day

This week, for the first time in the State of Israel’s history, 17 Presidents and heads of national science academies and international scientific organizations from around the world, will convene to express their confidence in and to salute the accomplishments of Israeli Science, joining the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in its celebration of the 50th anniversary of its establishment. The conference will take place during the National Science Week, commencing Sunday, March 14th, on the birthday of Albert Einstein.

The International Presidents’ Conference titled “Science and Accountability” will take place during the coming week in Jerusalem at the Israel Academy of Sciences, with the participation of the President of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, Knesset Chairman Mr. Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin and Israel’s Science Minister Prof. Daniel Hershkovitz.

Among the participants conference will be leaders of national science academies and scientific organizations from the following countries and regions: Berlin-Brandenburg, China, Estonia, Germany, Great Britain, India, Japan, Poland, Sweden, Taiwan, USA and others. Also participating in the conference will be the heads of Israel’s higher education system, prominent Israeli public figures and Academy Members, among them the four Israeli Nobel Prize winners: Professors Israel Aumann, Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko, and Ada Yonath.

President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Prof. Menahem Yaari, describes the conference as a pivotal turning point in the advancement of international scientific relations of the State of Israel and a solute to the prominent standing of Israeli science in the world.

The Israel Academy of Sciences is currently marking the 50th anniversary since its establishment, and the conference of academy presidents is one of the special events signifying this milestone. The Academy was established in 1960 on the initiative of Prime Minister Ben-Gurion, who even chaired the first meeting of the Academy’s General Assembly. Prof. Yaari: "The founding fathers looked upon the Academy of Sciences’ establishment as the creation of a center of knowledge and scientific authority which could help the young nation when issues of a scientific nature are raised. During the course of the past 50 years, the State seldom turned to the Academy for assistance, but recently, a marked improvement has taken place in this arena", Prof. Yaari reaffirmed the Academy’s willingness to provide knowledge-based assistance to decision-makers, as long as it is required.

The Presidents’ Conference will focus on the responsibility of researchers and the science community towards society on the subjects of economics, medicine and the advancement of social welfare, as well as on the ethics of science and security issues. In a changing and dynamic world with an atomic armament race on the one hand and breakthrough bio-medical scientific developments on the other, and with the rising awareness of issues such as global warming and the quality of the environment, the conference organizers attach supreme importance to the rallying of the community of scientists and science advisory bodies, such as science academies, to provide tools and solutions, as well as direction and assistance, to policy makers in their decision process and implementation

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Christians Fleeing Bethleham

The Christian Century magazine in the USA has recently blamed Israel for the decline in the Christian community in Bethlehem. Once again the canards of blame are used to incite feelings against the country.

A friend write the following letter which separates facts from fiction


The Christian Marks item "O Little Town" (January 26, 2010) blames the decline of the Christian population of Bethlehem on the Israeli security fence - and by implication, even on the existence of Israel itself: "The Christian population of Bethlehem was 92 percent in 1948, but now has dipped well below 50 percent."

The facts tell a different story. Christians began fleeing Bethlehem in 1995 when Arafat's Palestinian Authority took control of Bethlehem under the Oslo Accords, not in 2002 when the fence was built.

Through forced changes in the structure of Bethlehem's government and a campaign of intimidation, Arafat initiated a change in the city's composition. The intimidation has continued, including confiscation of Christian land and property, firebombing of Christian homes, economic boycotts, denial of employment, and even beatings and torture. It's no wonder that there has been a Christian exodus. Yet members of liberal Protestant churches continue to blame Israel.

Since 1948 the Christian community in Israel has more than quadrupled. Christians are safer in Israel than in the Palestinian territories. I hope that the Century's reporting on this will be more balanced.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Letter to Rachel Corrie's Parents in Haifa

Terrorist attacks and Katyushas and now Haifa is about to become the victim of yet another indignity. It is to be the scene for a legal assault by the parents of Rachel Corrie. The Corries are now suing the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces in Israeli court. They and their Arab lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, a radical activist (involved in the movement for a world boycott of Israel), filed a civil suit in Haifa court and the first hearing is scheduled for March 10.

Ironically, the Corries were themselves briefly kidnapped in Gaza by Hamas terrorists in January 2006, when they were in town to show the local jihadis their support.

Palestinian gunmen burst into a Rafah house early Wednesday and tried to kidnap the parents of Rachel Corrie, who was killed in 2003 as she protested the impending demolition of a house in the southern Gaza town, according to a witness.

The five gunmen appeared to be affiliated with the Fatah movement, according to Samir Nasrallah, the Corries' host. The gunmen eventually relented after being told who their targets were, he said.

According to the Telegraph, "The gunmen wanted to kidnap the couple as bargaining chips to secure the release of a militia leader, Alaa al-Hams, arrested on suspicion of ordering the kidnap of the British human rights activist Kate Burton and her parents ."

The Corries later issued a statement in which they denied they had been kidnapped at all. They had just been hosted at gunpoint. But the simple truth is that the Corries were released once the terrorists realized they were a far more valuable asset for Hamas if they were running around free.

The following letter has been published by Steven Plaut from Haifa University to "welcome" the Corries to Haifa.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Corrie,

You are coming to our lovely town to sue Israel, claiming that your daughter was "killed by an Israeli bulldozer." But you neglect to mention the circumstances under which she was so killed (nor the fact that she died from her injuries while under Palestinian medical care).

You have stated, "She had been working in Rafah with a nonviolent resistance organization, the International Solidarity Movement, trying to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes and wells." Homes and wells, huh?

Well, she was not. Rachel was trying to prevent the demolition of tunnels used to smuggle weapons for Palestinian terrorists seeking to murder Jewish civilians. ISM openly endorses Palestinian "armed struggle" against Jewish children and civilians and openly collaborates with terrorists. It has hidden wanted terrorists and their weapons in its offices. It is an accomplice in murder. Lying is not the best way to drum up sympathy for your daughter.

You say your daughter died trying to protect an "innocent house." Again, this is not the truth. That "innocent house" was camouflage for a not-so-innocent terrorist smuggling tunnel, and the residents of that innocent house knew all about the tunnel.

Your daughter was in a war zone as a belligerent, on behalf of a movement of Arab fascists seeking to destroy Israel and murder as many Jews as possible. Your daughter died while interfering with an anti-terror operation carried out by soldiers in a land in which she had no business being at all.

You demand that we feel your pain at the loss of your daughter, yet your daughter conscripted herself as an accomplice for those seeking to murder my children. You feel no pain for the scores of martyrs in my own city of Haifa murdered by those same terrorists.

Your daughter put herself in harm's way by challenging a large bulldozer and positioning herself where the operator could not see her. You know quite well that the bulldozer operator was not seeking to harm her.

You have written, "We had not understood the devastating nature of the Palestinians' situation." Of course, youhave never expressed any interest in the devastating nature of the Jews' situation. The Jews have been battling Arab fascism and genocidal terrorism for a hundred years, before, during, and after the Nazi Holocaust of six million Jews. Your daughter was helping those who perpetrate Nazi-like atrocities against randomly selected Jews.

You smugly praise the propaganda play about your daughter, which ignored all the other Rachels - the Jewish victims of terror in Israel who were murdered by genocidal terrorists.

Your daughter, and apparently you as well, never had any understanding of the Middle East conflict. The Middle East conflict is not about the right to self-determination of Palestinian Arabs, but rather about the right to self-determination of Israeli Jews.

For a century the Arabs have attempted to block any expression of Jewish self-determination, using violence, armed aggression, and terrorism. The Arabs today control 22 countries and territory nearly twice the size of the United States. They refuse to share even a fraction of one percent of the Middle East with Jews, even in a territory smaller than New Jersey.

The Arab countries invented the Palestinian people and their "plight" as a propaganda ploy in imitation of the German campaign on behalf of Sudeten self-determination in the 1930s. Just as the struggle for "Sudeten liberation" was nothing more than a fig leaf for the German aggression aimed at annihilating Czechoslovakia, so the struggle for "Palestinian liberation" is nothing more than cover for a jihad to destroy Israel and its population.

Your write, "Clearly, our daughter has become a positive symbol for people."

I am afraid you are mistaken. Your daughter has become a symbol for dangerous foolhardiness. She essentially committed suicide as an empty gesture to assist murderers and terrorists.

You want the world to mourn for your daughter, who died while working with monsters out to murder our children. On the pages of anti-Semitic propaganda web magazines you denounce Israel, but you do not have a single word of sympathy for the families of the thousands of innocent Israeli victims of the terrorists with whom your daughter chose to ally herself.

On behalf of the citizens of Haifa, all of whom your daughter's Hamas friends are trying to murder, I remain,

Steven Plaut

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Different Rules for Israel

As one of my correspondents writes, identifying anti-Semitism in the anti-Israel arguments won't faze the anti-Semites--but it might make those who are NOT already hopelessly biased against Israel stop and think.

One formulation of this is the concept of "different rules for Israel".

All states are entitled to take military action to defend their citizens--except for Israel

All states are entitled to decide who may enter their country--except for Israel

All states are entited to decide who may become citizens of their country--except for Israel

All states can be members of a regional group in the UN--except for Israel

UN Charter Article 2 par 4 states: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations"
(unless, of course, that state threatened is Israel)

Foreign-funded NGO's that seek to undermine a country's very existence aren't
entitled to act within that country-- except for Israel.

The list can (unfortunately) go on and on.