Jul 17 2008

Trading the living for the dead: How many will die at the hands of released terrorists?

Category: Hamas,Hizbullah,Islam,Israel,middle east,terrorismharmonicminer @ 2:09 pm

Power Line asks some obvious questions about Israel’s trade of live terrorists for dead bodies: Why did Israel do it?

Why did the government of Israel turn over four terrorists and a mass murderer for the bodies of two dead soldiers? Herb Keinon purports to explain the deal via an exploration of the Israeli national psyche. Keinon does not address the question whether Ehud Olmert and his cabinet in fact fairly represent the desires of the people of Israel in agreeing to the exchange. Do they?

It is naturally demoralizing for those with a healthy psyche to watch evil rewarded and celebrated. Are the Israelis somehow different in this respect? I doubt it. Watching the Lebanese celebrate the return of Samir Kuntar and the Hezbollah terrorists (as in the video above) is profoundly demoralizing. Ynet News editor Sharon Gilad, for example, describes her blood running cold as she watched the exchange take place. In this video former Israel Defense Minister Moshe Arens frankly condemns the exchange. Who speaks for Israel?

UPDATE: Carl in Jerusalem adds: Hezbollah mutilated the bodies of Goldwasser and Regev.

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Jul 16 2008

Trading Future Dead for Bodies of Soldiers

Category: Hamas,Hizbullah,Israel,middle east,politics,terrorismharmonicminer @ 11:27 am

Israel’s leadership is sacrificing the lives of future victims of terrorism for the bodies of a couple of soldiers.

Hours after the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were transferred to Israel in a dramatic prisoner swap with Hizbullah which saw the release of convicted killer Samir Kuntar, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised the deal, and offered his condolences to the families of the reservists.

“With all of Israel, I embrace and hug the families of Regev and Goldwasser in mourning,” Olmert said in published statement.

I wonder if he also plans to embrace and hug the families of the people who will be killed by the terrorists he released.

“My throat is dry, my eyes are tearing, and my heart goes out to the families that struggled without a sign [of life], and didn’t lose hope until the very last moment,” he continued. “This is a day of removal of doubt. Certainly with regards to the fate of Udi and Eldad, may their memories be blessed, but also regarding the moral and ethical power of Israel.”

Do you suppose he also plans to sympathetically bite his lower lip? Surely morals and ethics are more about actions and outcomes than about acting out of feelings of grief and remorse, no matter how genuine. What will be Omert’s ethical position when he has to comfort the families of yet more victims of the terrorists he is releasing?

“By virtue of this power we decided to return the boys, even with the heavy price of releasing a despicable murderer,” the prime minister said. “Nobody else will understand what every Israeli understands well: the worry over the fate of every one of our soldiers is the glue which binds us as a society, and it this which allows us to survive in an area which is surrounded by enemies and terror organizations.”

Actually, what has allowed Israel to survive so far has not been empty emotional gestures that endanger citizens still living, but instead the tough mindedness to fight and win.

More on this here and here. This is really a travesty, revealing a weakness in the Israeli government that is very worrying, though not new, given the mishandling of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, etc. Bluntly, the Left seems to have proven itself incompetent at protecting the nation. This is, of course, another way that politics in Israel parallels politics in the USA.

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Jul 11 2008

Hizbullah gets new toys…. LOTS of toys

Category: Hamas,Hizbullah,Israel,politics,terrorism,UNharmonicminer @ 9:00 am

I commented earlier on HAMAS turning Gaza into an ammo dump and training field for the coming conflict with Israel. (When isn’t there a coming conflict?) Hizbullah, not to be outdone, is doing the same thing, probably also via arms from Iran and Syria.

Continue reading “Hizbullah gets new toys…. LOTS of toys”

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Jul 04 2008

GAZA, ammo dump for Hamas

Category: Hamas,Islam,Israel,middle east,terrorismharmonicminer @ 9:00 am

Hamas is arming Gaza to the teeth and eyeballs. They have obtained quantities of Russian anti-tank missiles, the AT-3 Sagger, the AT-4 Spigot, the AT-5 Spandrel and the AT-14 Spriggan (all with ranges of several kilometers), as well as the RPG-29 Vampir, a grenade launcher on steroids.  Continue reading “GAZA, ammo dump for Hamas”

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Jun 21 2008

Condoleezza’s Secret Identity: Spiderman, beware!

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 2:25 pm

The Hamas Minister of, uh, Culture (video at the link) has a few choice words about the USA Secretary of State.  Some choice tidbits (more transcript at the link):

With the arrival of that black scorpion with a cobra’s head, Condoleezza, I began to worry that she would use her venomous fangs and hiss to kill this initiative and new spirit that we should protect.

The arrival of Condoleezza Rice is not a good sign. An even worse sign is the meeting between the Palestinian leadership and the Zionist entity, in the presence of that scorpion-cobra. Condoleezza Rice, you are not welcome.

Every proud Palestinian views you as a murderer, and sees the blood of the children of Palestine between your lips and on your fangs. I pray to Allah that you will soon slither away, along with your master who is more Zionist than the Zionists, that murderer and criminal, whose place in history is more advanced than that of Nero, Hulagu, Genghis Khan, Timor the Lame, Hitler, and Mussolini, and before them that of Nimrod – that criminal murderer, little Bush, who is striving to fan the flames in this region.

Bush believes in the same idea as the Jews: The land from the Euphrates to the Nile is yours, oh Israel.

We must be very wary of the rotten American policies in the region, which are represented by the scorpion-cobra Condoleezza.

This is actually mildly encouraging.  There wasn’t a single reference to “the Great Satan”, and he actually referred to Israel as “Israel”, for once, not merely as “the occupier” or “the Zionist entity” or whatever.

Baby steps, right?

I’m sure we can work with these people. 


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Jun 17 2008

Maybe the entire EU polity is not a moral black hole

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 7:40 pm

The EU member governments, especially the old-line EU (as opposed to the newer entrants from the former Soviet block), seem to practice an extreme form of moral equivalence more often than not.  In particular, they have been irrationally hostile to Israel, the only representative, liberal democracy in the middle east (excepting Turkey, which is getting less liberal all the time, and Iraq, which is embryonic at best).

The EU parrots so much Arab propaganda about Israel that I’m sure Israeli officials are frequently pretty frustrated.

So, a bit of good news.  It seems that the EU is actually going to upgrade the quality of its contacts and relationships with Israel.

The European Union, turning aside Palestinian objections, has announced upgraded relations with Israel in the form of a range of steps involving commerce, the economy, and academic ties as well as improvements in the diplomatic dialogue between the sides.

Perhaps it has finally sunk in that Israel simply moved out of Gaza, and the rocket attacks increased, Hamas was elected, and so on.

One wonders if the EU officials finally lifted up their blindfolds, just a tiny bit, and saw something they previously could pretend not to know.

Maybe this is a beginning. 

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Jun 08 2008

Israel plays chicken

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 6:36 pm

The Jerusalem Post carries an article describing the experience at a single checkpoint, even as Israel is removing checkpoints to ease the lives of Palestinians who need to move from the West Bank into and out of Israel. These are the checkpoints put up to stop terrorists, after repeated bombings and shootings by Palestinians crossing into Israel from the West Bank.

An 18-year-old Palestinian was arrested Sunday afternoon at the Hawara checkpoint near Nablus after military police on duty discovered he was carrying six pipe bombs, an ammunition cartridge and bullets, and a bag of what appeared to be gunpowder.

Cpl. Ron Bezalel of the military police’s Taoz Battalion told Army Radio that the youth had sent his bag through the checkpoint’s X-ray scanner. When the explosives were discovered, the troops on duty immediately implemented the protocol for stopping a terror suspect.

‘It’s routine to find bombs at this checkpoint… every day, we find knives and other weapons,’ Bezalel said.

The military said the Palestinian was most likely on his way to perpetrate an attack in an Israeli city. He was arrested and transferred to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for interrogation.

Three weeks ago, another Palestinian carrying five pipe bombs, which he had attached and strapped to his chest in the manner of an explosives belt, was stopped at Hawara.

Earlier Sunday, the IDF announced that Israel had removed 10 roadblocks in southern Hebron.”

It’s worth reading the entire article. The short story is simple. Even as Israel is trying to strengthen Abbas with Palestinians, by making him appear partly responsible for Israel’s liberalization in the matter of checkpoints, Israelis know that the attempts to sneak terrorists into civilians areas will not stop. In essence, Israel is playing a game of chicken: will Hamas kill too many Israelis to make a more moderate approach possible?

They are literally betting the lives of Israelis that Abbas might be able to rein in Hamas’ worst activities, by trying to help Abbas with his own people.

I think it’s a forlorn hope. So do many Israelis.

Almagor, an organization representing terror victims and their families, responded to Sunday’s announcement in the form of an open letter to Barak written by Nahman Zoldan, the father of Ido Zoldan who was killed several months ago by Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank.

“As someone who has lost a son near a road at the hands of Palestinian Authority members, I call on you to reconsider the decision and not to take at face value the Palestinian Authority’s promise that it will take care of our security for us.

“I issue this especially ahead of the coming holiday, when tens of thousands of Israelis use these roads on their way to Eilat, not knowing that these roads are now totally exposed to Palestinian movement,” Zoldan wrote in a statement issued by Almagor to the media.

Talks between Hamas and Fatah are producing essentially zero results. Why should they? Hamas has all the support it needs from bad actors outside Israel in terms of weapons (can anyone spell Iran? Syria? Al Qaeda?), and from sources that belie the Shia/Sunni divide that some in the West claim is strong enough to keep them from cooperating. Hamas protects its “brand” with Palestinians by acting as a humanitarian organization, and tries to prick western conscience with the needs of its people, while doing everything possible to make it unlikely that western aid will be given or deliverable. Hamas, despite being officially declared a terrorist organization by the UN, still has enormous sympathetic resonance with too many in the western media. They gain nothing by actually compromising on anything, now, and these pretend negotiations with Fatah are window-dressing. So they wait and see, knowing the short memory of the west, and the media in general, and knowing that surrogates in the west that pretend to be “moderate” are providing them public relations cover whenever possible, which is pretty often with a cooperative world media.

Look for upcoming elections in Israel to give a more definitive answer on how the Israeli people feel about removing the checkpoints. The main question is straightforward: will the first Israeli deaths from lifting the checkpoints come before or after the elections? As is so often the case, the election may turn more on emotional response to recent events than to sober historical judgment.

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