Archive for June, 2006

[Symposium] On the Strip: Where To Go from Gaza?

Friday, June 30th, 2006

by Daniel Pipes
National Review Online*
June 29, 2006
http://www.danielpipes.org/article/3717
* Cross-posted with permission

The Bush administration sees the United States at war with Islamic radicalism; has not the time come for it to see other theaters of this same war – Russia’s with the Chechen rebels, India’s with the Kashmiri insurgents, Israel’s with Hamas – as we see our own, and work for the defeat of the Islamists?

Instead, in the Israeli case at least, Washington urges understanding, restraint, compromise, management of the problem, and other half-hearted and doomed remedies. The result is an ever more exhilarated and aggressive Palestinian population that believes victory within reach.

Washington’s mistaken approach goes back to the Oslo accords of 1993, when Yasir Arafat seemingly closed the existential conflict in writing to Bill Clinton that “The PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.” But Arafat’s assurances were fraudulent and the Arab effort to eliminate Israel remains very much in place.

Israel, with U.S. support, must defeat this foul ambition. That implies inflicting a sense of defeat on the Palestinians, and winning their resignation to the permanent existence of a Jewish state in the Holy Land. Only then will the violence end.

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The Life and Death of Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri, ZTK”L

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

By Fern Sidman

On this day, June 29th, 2006, the 3rd day of Tammuz 5766, the nation of Israel buried a true Eved Elokim, a faithful servant of the Almighty G-d of Israel. Today thousands of Jews across the State of Israel attended the funeral of 18 year old Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri, ZTK”L, the yeshiva student from the settlement of Itamar who was kidnapped and murdered by Arab terrorists. Asheri, a student at the pre-military yeshiva academy in N’vei Tzuf in the western Binyamin region was last seen at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday at the French Hill junction in northern Jerusalem. He was hitching a ride to his yeshiva in N’vei Tzuf.

His parents, Yitro and Miriam Asheri reported him missing on Monday, but according to reports from the IDF he had already been murdered by that time. According to Arutz Sheva, “A Ramallah Tanzim terror cell, taking orders from the Gaza headquarters of the Popular Resistance Committee, carried out the kidnapping and murdered of pre-military Torah academy student Eliyahu Asheri, according to the IDF.”

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Koizumi Loves Elvis

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Concluding a press conference with President Bush today, Japan’s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said:

Thank you American people for “Love Me Tender.”

Yes, Elvis has touched the hearts of people everywhere. Junichiro generally comes across as stuffy and uptight, but he’s obviously full of surprises. And we couldn’t have a better friend than Koizumi.

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The War of the World

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

By Randy A. Sprinkle

Throughout history there have been many wars in diverse places and as knowledge increased the inventions of man made them deadlier; so deadly that in this modern age of advanced technologies war has become unthinkable — almost.

The last century also brought many wars and conflicts including World War I. Referred to as “The Great War,” it was to be “the war to end all wars,” or as the French would say, “la der des der” (the last of the last). But time has a way of resetting itself and history of replaying itself. It would be but a very short time until an even greater conflict would break out which would threaten the whole world.

All of these wars seem to form a cycle but I have come to the conclusion that there is only one war. It started long ago, and it has never been conclusively won or lost. When one side wins a war it is never completely won but remnants remain which in the right environment and in the right time will again present themselves. The root has never been destroyed and although the top is cropped off and dies in time it always grows back. William Faulkner remarked; “The past is not dead, in fact, it is not even past.” I agree.

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Kuwait: Vive La Femme

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

I’m gratified to see a little bit of reform in the Arab world — even if it is inch by inch. Kuwaiti women are voting, and standing as candidates. The polling stations are segregated by sex, but at least women are enfranchised — in a Muslim country. But of course, conservative religious elements are not pleased. First, the good news, from the BBC:

Kuwaitis are voting in parliamentary elections which, for the first time, allow women to cast ballots and stand as candidates. …

The BBC’s Julia Wheeler in Kuwait says it is a big day for women there — even if they do not get elected this time round – and one they have long campaigned for.

However, female candidates hope to secure some seats in parliament, despite standing for the most part against seasoned incumbents.

“It feels like a wedding day,” said Salwa al-Sanoussi as she came to vote in the wealthy Dahyia constituency.

Now, the usual oligarchic undertones (the bad news):

Some women candidates have complained of intimidation…

Kuwait’s parliament is considered to be the strongest of those in the Gulf monarchies, and the National Assembly often expresses differences of opinion with cabinet in a robust fashion.

However the emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, has the final word on most government policies and key cabinet posts are held by members of the ruling family.

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CCD’s call to Canadian Muslim groups: Challenge ul-Haq now!

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

By Canadian Coalition for Democracies

Ottawa, Canada, Wednesday, 28 June, 2006 – Six well-known Muslim organizations held a press conference in Ottawa on June 8, 2006 in which they issued a joint commitment “to take a leadership role in challenging extremism”. We look forward to these groups publicly challenging the extremist message of Britain’s Sheikh Riyadh ul-Haq who has been invited to Canada to “educate” Muslim youth, and to publicly call on the government to bar his entry to Canada.

Sheikh ul-Haq’s message is no secret. On June 15th, CCD released audio recordings of Sheikh Riyadh ul-Haq in which he is calling for martyrdom and jihad while presenting Hindus, Jews and tolerant Muslims as enemies of Islam. Many groups, including the CCD, Muslim Canadian Congress, Egale (Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere), B’nai Brith Canada, Canadian Jewish Congress, Hindu Dharma Mission, and others have called on Immigration Minister Monte Solberg to exercise his prerogative to bar entry to Canada of those who promote hatred and violence, as Canada has done in the past with members of the Ku Klux Klan.

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Israeli Government – Not Hamas – Responsible for Kidnapping of Jewish Soldier

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

By Manhigut Yehudit

Moshe Feiglin, leader of Manhigut Yehudit, the Jewish Leadership Movement, declares that it is the government of Israel that is responsible for the well being of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, just as the government is responsible for the well being of all the citizens of Israel. The foolish attempt to place the responsibility for Gilad’s safety on the shoulders of murderers like Abu Mazen is part of the total failure of Israel’s government to lead the country.

Every soldier and officer called upon to re-enter Gaza should know that he is endangering his life – not for Israel’s security, but rather to cover up for Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Peretz’ fiasco.

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Jewish Lemmings Have Their Day

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

By Fern Sidman

If the Jewish people would ever establish a national day of celebration and glorification of the victories of those amongst them who can be defined as “lemmings”, today would be that day.

It has been reported by Arutz Sheva (6/23/06) that, “Members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ personal guard, “Force 17”, used Israel’s weapons to shoot Israelis this week, according to Israeli security and PA terrorist sources. Israel is the supplier of the weapons used in the gunfire that killed one Israeli and wounded several others, according to an interview written by journalist Aaron Klein and released Friday by WorldNetDaily. Klein quoted Abu Yousuf, a senior member of Force 17, who like many other guards is a member of the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades terror group.”

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[Pew Poll on] How Muslims Think

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun*
June 27, 2006
http://www.danielpipes.org/article/3706
* Cross-posted with permission

How do Muslims worldwide think?

To find out, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press carried out a large-scale attitudinal survey this spring. Titled “The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other,” it interviewed Muslims in two batches of countries: six of them with long-standing, majority-Muslim populations (Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey) and four of them in Western Europe with new, minority Muslim populations (France, Germany, Britain, and Spain).

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Bullies in Judges’ Cloaks

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

By Moshe Feiglin

Editor’s introduction:

[As of this writing, Oryah Shirel, age 15, has been sitting in an Israeli jail for 13 days. She has not been charged with any crime. Oryah's father is an American citizen and her mother is a Canadian citizen. Oryah lives with her parents and eight siblings in Hebron.]

15-year-old Oryah Shirel is in jail indefinitely. But she has the key. All she has to do is to sign on bail. She refuses to do it.

Oryah was arrested at a demonstration outside the kindergarten in her hometown of Hebron. She and hundreds of others had protested the Israeli government’s rebuilding of an Arab home, a structure from which Jewish children in the school playground had previously been attacked.

In her decision to return Oryah to her prison cell, Judge Shalev-Gartel wrote that there is no basis to believe that Oryah acted in an illegal manner. So how does a wholesome teenager who doesn’t smoke, drink or do drugs end up in prison? Why doesn’t she have the basic rights afforded to all minors that include the privilege to call home and to receive clean clothing?

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Book Review – The Great Game of Genocide: Imperialism, Nationalism, and the Destruction of the Ottoman Armenians

Monday, June 26th, 2006

by Donald Bloxham
New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. 329 pp. $35.

Reviewed by Yücel Güçlü
Middle East Quarterly*
Spring 2006
http://www.meforum.org/article/969
* Cross-posted with permission

Mislabeling Genocide?

Bloxham’s Great Game of Genocide is both broader and narrower than the title might suggest. The work divides into three thematic parts?mass murder in an international system; international response and responsibility in the genocide era; and from response to recognition. The parts are broader in dealing not only with Armenians but also with Greeks, Kurds, and Assyrians. They are narrower in focusing mainly on the years 1915-23, thereby treating only superficially the period before World War I.

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Presbyterian Church (USA) Declares Suicide Bombings a “Crime Against Humanity”

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

The Presbyterian Church (USA)’s 217th General Assembly has decided that suicide bombings are a “crime against humanity.” Duh. It took them until the year 2006 to figure this out? From Solomonia:

A day after removing the language of divestment, this General Assembly continues getting the job done. The folks on the floor are doing their thing against the clearly desired results of the elites on the permanent committees. I’ll have some closer examination of this later, but here’s a quick snapshot. The bureacratese is here, in full: Commissioners’ Resolution. On Declaring Suicide Bombing a Crime Against Humanity.

Hat-tip to Solomonia.

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Palestinian Christian government official resigns

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

Well-known by balanced Middle East observers is the fact the Palestinian Christians are fleeing their ancestral homeland (the “Palestinian territories”) because of persecution — more on that later. But to confirm their plight, the only Christian member of the new Palestinian government has resigned. Interestingly, this story comes from the Presbyterian News Service, an arm of the American church now locked in debate over whether to divest from Israel. From an article entitled, “Christian in Palestinian government quits after violence:”

“I confirm to you that I have resigned from the government due to the violence that has occurred in the Gaza Strip,” Judeh Murqos said in a statement after sending a letter of resignation to Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas on June 12. …

Residents in Bethlehem said they believed Murqos quit the post because gunmen from the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, an armed group linked to Fatah, had intimidated him by coming to his house in the middle of the night and firing volleys of bullets into the air. …

“Some gunmen showed up at his residence during the night and he felt it wasn’t worth it,” a Bethlehem resident told Ecumenical News International, speaking on condition of anonymity. The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported that Murqos and his son had also received death threats. …

Christians have traditionally held the tourism portfolio in the Palestinian government because Bethlehem, the town of Jesus’ birth, is the main tourist attraction in the Palestinian territories.

On thing the Presbyterian News Service didn’t mention was the flood of Christians fleeing “Palestine” — specifically Bethlehem. From CBN:

Two thousand years after the birth of Christ, Christians are leaving the Holy Land in record numbers, and a new report suggests persecution against Palestinian believers is getting worse.

Little remains of 14 homes set ablaze in the West Bank village of Taybeh. An angry Muslim mob from a neighboring village attacked the Christian town last September. They said they were avenging the dishonor of a Muslim woman allegedly impregnated by her Christian employer, from Taybeh.

Taybeh is the only West Bank village completely inhabited by Christians – about 2,000 of them. It was originally called Ephraim. It is mentioned in the Old Testament and in the book of John as a village where Jesus stayed.

Mayor David Khoury said the attack would not have occurred if Taybeh were a Muslim village instead of a Christian one. …

Palestinian Christians are now living in fear because persecution against them is increasing.

“I think the situation has been on a steep downhill for at least 12 years,” said Weiner, “since Israel withdrew from the Palestinian populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza …they fear for their own lives, they fear for their own family, they fear for the future of their community.”

It is a community that many Christians believe will be marginalized as the Palestinians move toward statehood. …

One recent study shows the Christian presence in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority has declined from a population of 26.4 percent in 1914 to less than 10 percent today.

The city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, was once a Christian city. Several decades ago, it was perhaps more than 80 percent Christian. Today, the Christian population has declined to less than 15 percent.

We constantly are subjected to mainstream media news of the “plight” of the Palestinians, but that news is selective, and rarely mentions the situation of Christians.

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Presbyterian Turnaround?

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

By Andrew L. Jaffee

It seems that the Presbyterian Church (USA) is reconsidering its decision to divest from Israel. I believe this decision is a result of grass-roots Presbyterians rebelling against their rabidly left-leaning leadership. My wife’s family are Presbyterians living in Alabama, and they thought the idea of divestment verged on anti-Semitism. A vote was held at the the Church’s 217th General Assembly meeting. According to today’s Washington Post:

Under intense pressure from church members and Jewish groups, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has modified its controversial position calling for “phased, selective divestment” in companies involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

While church leaders said divestment — withdrawing church funds — remains an option of “last resort,” Wednesday’s vote shifts the church’s focus toward negotiation with companies rather than an all-out financial boycott.

The 500 commissioners, or delegates, meeting in Birmingham, said church funds could be invested “in only peaceful pursuits” and ordered the church’s investments committee to continue dialogue with multinational firms operating in Israel and Palestinian territories.

The statement also apologized for the “hurt and misunderstanding” felt by Jewish groups, which have been longtime allies with the Presbyterians on many social issues, and appealed for “a new season of mutual understanding.”

The new statement was adopted by the General Assembly after virtually no debate.

Rabbi A. James Rudin, the senior interreligious affairs adviser for the American Jewish Committee, praised the Presbyterians for stepping back from what he called a “reckless” policy.

The call for divestment was adopted by the 2.3 million-member denomination’s convention in 2004.

I heard a brief news blurb today stating that the Assembly had also voted to condemn suicide bombings. If anyone has a link to a story on this vote, please contact me.


Book Reviews on Middle Eastern Affairs

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

Middle East Quarterly*
Spring 2006
http://www.meforum.org/article/950
* Cross-posted with permission

Addicted to Oil: America’s Relentless Drive for Energy Security. By Ian Rutledge. New York: I. B. Tauris, 2005. 336 pp. $45.

Millions of people around the world subscribe to the idea that an insatiable thirst for oil motivated the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and Rutledge presents Addicted to Oil as “an attempt to show why those millions are correct.” His historical narrative describes how decades of alleged collusion between U.S. automakers and Big Oil brought the elimination of the nation’s public transport infrastructure, creating an American society based on excessive driving and gas guzzling. This structure, he claims, created severe dependence on foreign oil suppliers with profound geostrategic consequences, the latest of which is America’s “defeat” in the oil war in Iraq.

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