June 16, 2007

Fatahland & Hamastan -- a roundup

By Noah Pollak

Herewith a completely disorganized roundup of reporting and commentary about the past few days’ events in Gaza.

Charles Levinson reports from inside Gaza on life in the new Hamastan. He went to observe the vigorous looting of Mohammad Dahlan’s seaside villa. “The boy digging up the tree paused and turned to us. ‘He lives like a king, and we have nothing to eat,’ he said, before returning to his work.”

The Jerusalem Post’s Palestinian affairs reporter Khaled Abu Toameh -- he has been required reading throughout the conflict -- has an interesting analysis of the recent history of Hamas-Fatah relations, in pursuit of an answer to his question: “Why did the Gaza Strip fall so easily and quickly into the hands of Hamas?”

Matthew Levitt predicts that "Hamas will look north to Lebanon’s Hezbollah (Party of God) for a working model of a militant Islamist group that balances its political, charitable, and violent activities." He directs readers to a section of his excellent 2006 book on Hamas. This is a shrewd comparison, and one that Martin Kramer made in a different context two years ago:

[Hamas and Hezbollah] have a strong sense of entitlement, and a record of rejecting offers of political inclusion that do not privilege them. The cost of bringing these movements in is high -- they place heavy demands on the system, because they insist on retaining their mini-state privileges.
The most significant of those privileges is stockpiles of weapons. Both Lebanon and the Palestinians have been through dark chapters of warlordism, which they are trying to put behind them. Hezbollah and Hamas are the main obstacles to the turning of this page.
They say they will never give up their guns. They insist on stockpiling a vast array of weaponry, most of which cannot threaten Israel, but all of which undermines the fragile authority of the Lebanese state and the Palestinian Authority. In Beirut, Hezbollah still mounts paramilitary displays, and in Gaza and the West Bank, no demonstration is complete without the public display of weaponry. Yesterday, 10,000 Hamas militia militants paraded through Gaza with assault rifles, rockets, and anti-tank missiles. This is not like the gun culture of America, which is focused on the individual's right to bear arms. This is militia competition, so familiar from other failed states where warlords compete by shows of armed strength.

And speaking of Martin, don’t miss his commentary on Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor at Columbia University, who yesterday on National Public Radio declared that the Hamas takeover “is a direct, logical, inevitable result of American, Israeli, and European policy…They almost willed this result.” Kramer thunders back:

At bottom, Khalidi is no different from the general run of blame-throwing Palestinian hacks. One of the (many) reasons Palestinians have marched themselves down so many dead ends is the abject failure of their intellectuals, who've been so busy speaking "truth to power" that they've forgotten to speak it to their own people. Khalidi is no exception, and as someone who's fed Palestinian mythology for decades, he's just as thoroughly implicated in the mess as any masked gunman.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial takes a dash through the past forty years’ history of Palestinian terrorism and the West’s multifaceted capitulation to it, and concludes:

The deeper lesson here is that a society that has spent the last decade celebrating suicide bombing would inevitably become a victim of its own nihilistic impulses. This is not the result of Mr. Bush's call for democratic responsibility; it is the bitter fruit of the decades of dictatorship and terrorism as statecraft that Yasser Arafat instilled among Palestinians.

Shmuel Rosner provides an excellent analysis in Ha'aretz, aptly titled "An Overpowering Reality," about the differing political and strategic concerns in the American and Israeli camps.

What will they discuss? The Hamas victory bolsters Israel's unstated policy of dividing the Palestinian Authority into two states - Gaza and the West Bank. Israel cannot say this out loud in front of the Americans, who are committed to a single Palestinian state, so Olmert will have to speak in code. He will suggest that Bush strengthen international support for the peace process. This would involve deploying an international force in Gaza, implementing an engineering solution to block arms smuggling in Rafah, pressuring the Egyptians to do more against the smugglers, and encouraging the Saudis to stop being embarrassed by the collapse of the Palestinian unity agreement cooked up in Mecca.

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Harris Schoenberg, the president of UN Reform Advocates, asks whether it is time for UN peacekeepers in Gaza. After recounting a shameful history of failure, corruption, and collaboration, he replies: “it is [not] clear why Israel would consider agreeing to a peacekeeping operation in Gaza, given the peacekeepers' record of malfeasance and cooperation with Israel's enemies.”

No Middle East crisis is complete without awful media coverage, and so Melanie Phillips is outraged at how the BBC has been grotesquely twisting its reporting on Gaza in order to blame the crisis on Israel. Allow me to take this opportunity to concur and add that Great Britain has become the most anti-Israel country in Europe, and the BBC has been merrily pushing the nation down this nihilistic road for quite some time with its daily injections of what can legitimately be called propaganda. The BBC has successfully turned itself into a revolting cesspool of bigotry against Israel and tendentious excuse-making for Islamic terrorists; it is a national embarrassment of a high order. Phillips links to a counterbalancing piece by Con Coughlin in the Telegraph.

And finally, on a happier note, just a few miles north of Gaza, Google opened its first office in Tel Aviv, to join its two other R&D centers in Israel. “Palestine” and Israel are heading in separate directions, and fast.

Posted by Noah Pollak at June 16, 2007 02:08 PM
Comments

@BBC: Cherchez le missing reporter.

Hamas is keen to stage a propaganda victory by securing the release of Allan Johnston, the BBC's journalist who was kidnapped in Gaza.

A little whitewashing from the BBC's part would be a little "thank you" for their efforts.

Posted by: Mustapha at June 16, 2007 02:45 PM

Oh.. Have I mentioned they're starting a new Arabic TV channel?

Posted by: Mustapha at June 16, 2007 02:47 PM

Thank you for this extraordinary coverage. It's simply the best there is on the topic. I want to ask questions, but I'm left asking only one--that we're all asking...what next? Will Israel strike-or bide their time? What's Iran's next move? Hard to see how Hamas sees this as a long term strategy unless that strategy is all out war.

Posted by: Mark Storer at June 16, 2007 02:49 PM

Mustapha,

BBC's whitewashing preceded the kidnappping of their reporter. Hamas has contempt for even its useful Western idiots.

Anyone who kidnaps journalists, from any country and for any reason, is my enemy.

I can't imagine working for a company that makes excuses for those who would kidnap me. The BBC is pathetic. I will never, ever, work for them.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 16, 2007 03:23 PM

Lots of commentary, little hope.

The situation is terrible for everybody!

Posted by: Yohay at June 16, 2007 04:16 PM

The BBC is truly pathetic. I've been listening to them almost every night for over a decade and I've never heard a single story about anti-Semitic incitement in the Arab world. They examine the Arab-Israeli conflict completely through the Arab prism. They've even had reporters who admitted they cried over Arafat's death.

Posted by: Zak at June 16, 2007 04:18 PM

The BBC was reporting earlier today that Hamas had surrounded an apartment building in Gaza where they thought Johnston was being held. The Beeb said Hamas was calling on the terrorists to release him.

(Fatah apparently knew of the location, too.)

Posted by: MattW at June 16, 2007 04:44 PM

Debka is, erm, 'reporting' that Hamas has seized the intelligence archives of Fatah/PLO in Gaza. Inevitably, they describe it as an unspeakable disaster.

But on the face of it, the story is at least partly plausible. Fatah/PLO intelligence did cooperate with the CIA and (to varying levels) Israeli, Arab and European intelligence organisations. They surely kept secret files, and it is therefore entirely possible that those files are in Hamas' (and therefore Iran's) hands.

I hardly think (as Debka reports) Fatah/PLO knew of Mossad double agents (etc), but it is nonetheless concerning.

Posted by: MattW at June 16, 2007 04:50 PM

Well, the various intelligence agencies are about to learn the value of the adage "Lie down with dogs; get up with fleas."

What were they expecting would happen? It's a given that the Palestinian governing authority is unstable. Factions and power can shift abruptly.

To paraphrase MJTotten, "What was their Plan B?"

Posted by: steve miller at June 16, 2007 05:19 PM

What's with this obssessive tendency to see Iran's hand behind everything? Hamas is not a tool of Iran, even though they get money from them. Iran has an interest in funding groups fighting against Israel and the U.S.; it doesn't need to control everything they do.

Especially in this case. Notice how Iran issued statement effectively saying: "look guys, stop fighting amongst yourselves and focus on attacking your common enemy: Israel."

Well, I'd say that's a pretty honest admission of what they truly want. They don't have some sort of devious plan to make Gaza an Iranian forward base from which to attack Israel. They're perfectly satisfied with the Palestinians keeping the intifada going. If the Palestinians are massacring each other, it's not good for Iran at all.

Posted by: Edgar at June 16, 2007 05:22 PM

>>>Fatahland & Hamastan

Good cop/bad cop, with Israel as the perp? It may seem on the surface to be in Israel's advantage to have a divided enemy, but somehow I don't think it's going to be that simple. Fatah is looking a lot less like a terror organization and a lot more like a great white hope these days. That doesn't bode well for Israel.

Posted by: Carlos at June 16, 2007 05:34 PM

Hamas is not a tool of Iran, even though they get money from them.

LOL. I actually chuckled out loud at that one.

Posted by: Carlos at June 16, 2007 05:37 PM

Carlos:

I suggest you read a bit more about Hamas' history, and what it's all about. You're confusing them with Hizballah--a different story altogether.

Posted by: Edgar at June 16, 2007 05:44 PM

Excellent round-up and commentary, Noah. Thanks.

Posted by: Rob at June 16, 2007 06:23 PM

I second Rob's compliment to Noah. What I also very much appreciate is when either or both Michael and Noah drop into these threads to fine tune something they posted, or add some further insight. I have learned so much here. This is a very level headed site with minimal personal vitriol. Not zero, for these are passion provoking issues. That's why it's so good to see some cooler heads prevail when the heat rises.

My only regret is that my contribution has to be so meager during this burgeoning construction downturn. I am very certain there are many readers like me who are more interested in understanding what is behind the news, and less interested in taking a 'position.' That's the value for me.

Posted by: allan at June 16, 2007 06:50 PM

You're confusing them with Hizballah

Edgar,

You're right. I see no difference between the two. Both are sworn to Israel's destruction, both receive money from Iran, who is also sworn to Israel's destruction. No diff as far as I'm concerned. They are proxies of Iran, and the money they're paid isn't free. Not that you have to twist their arm about it, their hatred of the U.S. and Israel is genuine and deep. And whether Hamas intends to make Gaza an "Iranian forward base" is irrelevant because Iran most certainly DOES intend to make it their forward base. Just as in Lebanon.

Posted by: Carlos at June 16, 2007 09:19 PM

For God's sake Rockford, first you say Jordan is going to attack Israel, which just goes to show you don't know jack about Jordan. Second you advocate ethnic cleansing as a solution -- as if Jews would ever do that after the Holocaust.

Josh Scholar is right. You're a nutcase.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 16, 2007 10:59 PM

Rockford is a nutcase, Michael, there's no question of that. He does have a grain of insight buried in there, however. IMO, part of the reason the middle east conflict is insoluble is that it has been kept at a fairly stable level as a low intensity conflict that nobody can win or lose decisively for the past several decades. Sometimes a clear cut victory or loss is necessary to get to a resolution, even to peace. LIC may look prettier on a day to day basis than all out war, but in the aggregate, it does at least as much, if not more, harm.

Not that leveling the Strip is a solution. But I can't help thinking that this would end quicker, and better, if the world let Israel take the gloves off for once.

Posted by: Akiva M. at June 16, 2007 11:10 PM

Akiva: part of the reason the middle east conflict is insoluble is that it has been kept at a fairly stable level as a low intensity conflict that nobody can win or lose decisively for the past several decades.

That, I completely agree with.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 17, 2007 12:37 AM

Um, no, sorry. The reason the middle east conflict is insoluble is that the Palestinians and their enablers want Israel destroyed, and most Israelis (except for a relatively small number--at least so far) haven't been terribly thrilled with that idea.

And yes, it could actually be that simple.

The reason why the conflict has continued to be low-intensity is that Israel is loathe to do to Palestinians what Palestinians have been dreaming, itching, to do to Israel---and would do so in an instant, were it possible---all the while hoping that the Palestinians will somehow see the light and act in their own interests.

As though Palestinian interests were anything other than Israel's erasure.

What we're seeing right now is a taste of what Israel's enemies (or should that be "partners in peace"?) will do to Israel if given half the chance. Just another of many lessons. To be ignored---why not?---like all the previous ones....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at June 17, 2007 03:29 AM

Allan, good post. Of the many reasons that MJT's blog is a daily visit for me is to read a source of information that is almost unique on ME affairs.

I know what my position is (pretty much anyways, and it is very much judgemental- the recidivism rate of people who commit acts of physical violence is quite low if they are killed.) An example; Kurds/Kurdistan, thumbs up; Hamas/Hezbo/AQ, thumbs down.

Sitting around singing kumbaya, having s'mores and a "discussion" is great in some circumstances, sometimes not so much. Also, people need to ACT, not just observe.

Too many people try to convince others that they "just don't get it" and try to use pseudo-intellectual or dogmatic arguments to get us to "see the light". Discusssions as to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin are of zero interest to me.

I very much appreciate becoming better informed about the physical and political reality of the situation in the ME, and MJT's blog provides a good part of that education.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at June 17, 2007 04:15 AM

Why does everyone sneer at the prospect of the Israelis and Palestinians getting together and singing Kumbaya? I hear this all the time.

Has it ever been tried? If not, how can you be so certain it won't work?

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 05:07 AM

Edgar, because:

1. Far too many Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza have been radicalized through years of being fed a diet of lies and hatred served on a bed of juicy, unquestionable foreign aid to suddenly change who they are and initiate a group hug;

2. True moderates in Palestinian society are weak at best. The reality on the ground, particularly in Gaza, is one of control by warring clans and strongmen. Revisionism be damned, Fatah is nothing more than the collection of and descendants of Arafat's corrupt cronies from Tunis. Few have advocated true reconciliation with Israel, and those who have are powerless to do anything about it.

3. This dysfunction has been and continues to be promoted by Iran, Syria and others and that won't be stopping anytime soon; And so-called 'moderate' regimes like Jordan and Egypt are some combination of paralyzed to act responsibly out of fear of destabilizing their own regimes and simply not being interested in doing so.

4. The Israelis are disgusted. I can't stress enough that the disengagement from Gaza was a traumatic event for Israeli society, and after the way the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza seized upon this opportunity to turn the place into Somalia instead of Singapore, there's not a whole lot of interest to deal with a people who clearly have different priorities;

5. The Israelis are scared. Scared of the radicalization of Gaza. Scared of what happened in Lebanon. Scared of the manipulation by Syria and Iran.

6. Life in Israel goes on. In my experience, most people don't spend their days and nights trying to solve the conflict with the Palestinians... People go about their daily lives and are

I can go on, but must be going for now... This all said, I wish you were right. And I think you ultimately will be. But not today or any time soon :(

Posted by: Josh at June 17, 2007 06:04 AM

If I was M. I will go crazy. Here is a man putting his life on the line, realy, to teach people about the ME and here is Edgar writting the the Persians and the state of Iran are giving money for nothing. When is the last time that England, France, Egypt and Israel gave money for nothing? why, in the name of the lord, should Iran be blamed for such improbable stupidity.

Posted by: hazbani at June 17, 2007 06:31 AM

Edgar,

I just repeated your comment

"Why does everyone sneer at the prospect of the Israelis and Palestinians getting together and singing Kumbaya? I hear this all the time.

Has it ever been tried? If not, how can you be so certain it won't work?"

to my apolitical wife.

My response was "Can this idiot be so stupid as to never have heard of Oslo or Camp David etc. etc.?

Her response was "He probably really means sit around and sing Kumbaya."

And she scores on a slap shot from the point!!

Posted by: AlanC at June 17, 2007 07:00 AM

AlanC

Yes, I mean it in a literal sense. Everything else has been tried.

Give it a shot.

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 07:30 AM

Another important chapter in this Palestinian vs Palestinian saga will play out in the West Bank. There, Fatah has more power. The aid spigots are already being turned on now that Abbas has killed the unity government with Hamas. But here we go again, throwing our support in with Fatah, which is only slightly "better" than Hamas, and maybe worse in a way, because they are willing to lie about their goals and pay lip service to negotiations, thus fooling everybody and putting the onus on Israel.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times and on and on ... shame shame shame on us all. And yet here we go again, hoping against an abysmal track record that Fatah will somehow come to the rescue.

Posted by: Zak at June 17, 2007 07:43 AM

whatever you might think of the BBC, Melanie 'I Found Saddam's WMD Bunkers' Phillips is a certified nutcase

Posted by: novakant at June 17, 2007 07:55 AM

Edgar's opinions or provocations are even more incomprehensible in light of Ahmedinejad's constant refrain: "Israel will soon be destroyed."

Clearly, if this Hamas gambit was not directly coordinated by Iran, they will exploit it. The goal is the destruction of the Jewish state, regarded as a cancer in the midst of the Dar al-Islam. If you do not believe that, then you are as wrong as if you believed 2 + 2 = 5.

As Syria tries its hand in the north, it weakens Lebanon's ability to deal with Hezbollah in the south. Hezbollah is being rearmed, or has been rearmed, and now the Lebanese government, as long as it is effectively preoccupied with the hot war amid the Palestinian refugee camps, will be incapable of dealing with any war that Hezbollah can either launch or provoke against Israel.

Note that the Hamas victory in Gaza means that same strategic disposition holds for Israel as well.

Now, if I had a squinting rabid dwarf continually murmuring about how Islam was going to destroy Israel, pursuing nuclear weapons, holding down the USA (while the media and domestic political opposition and their gullible drones do all the PR work) in Iraq and funding the Taliban in Afghanistan, and you were an Isreali general - pray, Edgar, what exactly would you think would be the reasonable conclusion to the question "What exactly is going on here?"

In my opinion, consistent with the unspoken subtext of the Bush Doctrine, the time has come for a regional war in which we, Israel, and any other nation that likes, takes the gloves off and destroys these weak but growing fascist powers. They think they're clever, but their entire strategy depends heavily on our simply refusing to take it as it is. Let us finally deny them that and end this farce before it gets really out of control. Because this is no where Near out of control yet. If you disagree with that, then you are simply ignorant.

Posted by: dan at June 17, 2007 08:01 AM

4. The Israelis are disgusted. I can't stress enough that the disengagement from Gaza was a traumatic event for Israeli society, and after the way the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza seized upon this opportunity to turn the place into Somalia instead of Singapore, there's not a whole lot of interest to deal with a people who clearly have different priorities

This can't be stressed enough. Disengaging from Gaza was perhaps the most divisive issue in Israel since accepting reparations from Germany in the 1950's. I have never seen anything like it. Nevertheless, I would hazard that three years ago 90% of Israelis expected - and perhaps even wanted - an end to the conflict and an independent Palestinian state. That changed when Gaza was given back and the immediate response from the Palestinians was more rockets and kidnappings. The current attitude is quite different; I would venture that 90% of the country today believes that the Palestinians are, on the whole, totally untrustworthy and murderous, and that real peace with the Palestinians is impossible. There's a reason the security fence has been going up, and that's because all Israelis want to do with the Palestinians is never see them again - put up a wall and shoot anything that puts so much as a toe over the line, no questions asked. It's not a pretty solution, and the rest of the world can and will cry at the evil Israelis for no longer wanting real peace, but frankly what we are seeing in Gaza right now just underscores the point. I am not claiming that the average Palestinian is a murderer or a terrorist. It's hard to ignore though that a sizable minority - say a few percent - of them are, and it's hard to blame Israelis for not wanting to sing kumbaya anymore.

Posted by: alexander at June 17, 2007 08:10 AM

The untrusthworthiness of the Palestinians relates exactly to my latest concern, that we are going to witness yet another rehabilitation of Fatah, this time in the West Bank.

At least Hamas is honest and blunt. Fatah lies and plays rope-a-dope negotiations, getting concessions here and there without ever coming through on their side of the bargain. I wouldn't be surprised if Israel or the US sends them some more weapons in order to bolster them in the West Bank against Hamas. We just keep playing this stupid, dangerous game with them over and over again. Sheesh.

This is the last chance for Fatah, as I see it. There can only be one party who has a monopoly on power in the areas of the PA. No more offshoots committing terrorist acts while Fatah leaders play it stupid. If they can't keep security in the West Bank cities, which are the only places they have any military control, then Israel is going to have to eventually reoccupy EVERYTHING in the West Bank and perhaps Gaza and start rounding up all "militants" and terrorists just like before Oslo, when the PLO was illegal. That means treating Abbas and friends as enemies to be killed, jailed or expelled.

If after this then maybe, just maybe, if the security situation calms down in a few years, if the Palestinian economy can recover to pre-Oslo times, then we can see about local elections.

I don't know what the best options are, but I do know that this is Fatah's last chance, and that Israel can ill-afford to keep playing by the rules that were set up after 1993.

Posted by: Zak at June 17, 2007 08:56 AM

Look, I understand Oslo, Wye River, Camp David, Aqaba, etc., didn't work out.

I just think it's unfair to constantly use the "Kumbaya" song as an example of what not to do without any real evidence that it truly wouldn't work.

Get everyone to have a sitdown around a campfire (Israelis love this kind of thing anyway) and try it. If things don't improve at all, it'll be obvious that singsongs aren't the solution. But the point is, they've never even been tried.

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 09:07 AM

alexander,

noah has included the article from haaretz "overpowering reality". if you read it, you know what sharon said to rice:

… then the American and Israeli delegations meet for breakfast. Sharon begins by identifying with the suffering of the Palestinians, and speaks of the great opportunity that will befall them in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal. Rice’s ears perk up; it’s not every day that you hear Sharon displaying such empathy. “There are only two problems,” says Sharon, turning his gaze to his left. “Dubi, how do you say ‘bloodthirsty’ in English?” Sharon’s adviser Dov Weissglas chokes on his avocado salad as an embarrassed silence fills the room. U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams translates the term. Now it’s Rice’s turn to choke on her salad. “There are only two problems,” repeats Sharon. “They’re bloodthirsty and treacherous.”
“All of them?” asks Rice.
“Yes,” the prime minister responds. “All of them.”

Now, like all generalizations, there are exceptions, but exceptions are not the rule.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 09:17 AM

Edgar:

Get everyone to have a sitdown around a campfire (Israelis love this kind of thing anyway) and try it. If things don't improve at all, it'll be obvious that singsongs aren't the solution. But the point is, they've never even been tried.

You are joking, right? Please say you're joking.

Do you think a Hamas killer who will stop at nothing, including sending his own kids on suicide missions strapped with bombs to slaughter Israeli kids wants to sit down with Jews and sing Kumbaya?

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

My cat will get a PhD in astrophysics from Caltech before that ever happens, Edgar.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 17, 2007 09:19 AM

I would have everyone i litle cabins in the woods.

Everyone could roast kosher hotdogs (which Muslims can eat as well) and have the singsong. Then the next morning they could learn orienteering together, or if it rained, they could stay inside and play Twister.

I think just the spectacle of Hamas militants and Israeli Jews twisting their bodies into awkward and comical positions would remove any animosity between the two sides.

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 09:40 AM

I agree Carlos and, in any case, even if you're right Edgar, what's the effective difference?

Posted by: Abu Nudnik at June 17, 2007 09:43 AM

What about trust falls? No respect-building dialogue session is complete without some trust falls. And that game where everyone gets in a circle and sits down on eachother's laps, all at once, and then stands back up again.

Posted by: Noah Pollak at June 17, 2007 09:45 AM

http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/016963.php

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1181813047962&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3413666,00.html

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 09:46 AM

The turning point in Gaza appeared to be the defection of some large portion (40%?) of Fatah fighters to Hamas. It strikes me that Hamas must have at least some fighters laying low, pretending to be Fatah, in the West Bank. Perhaps the next event will be the mass defection of Fatah to Hamas in the West Bank. Fatah could fall overnight. Yet another reason to give no support of any kind to Fatah. And is Edgar not aware of all the efforts for decades by peace-loving Israelis to include Palestinians in summer camps, seminars, conferences, West-bashing festivals? Heck, they probably already have sung "Kumbaya" together. My advice today to any Israeli who wants to try such a thing is to have the Palis checked for bomb belts.

Posted by: Robert Speirs at June 17, 2007 09:47 AM

Yeah, and have like a buddy system, pairing up terrorists with IDF soldiers for a few days. They'd learn about each other's jobs, what their daily routine is like, and so on.

The soldiers might complain about not getting enough leave, and eating spam and tuna for days on end in the field. And the Hamas people would probably talk about their authoritarian, ultra-religious commanders that wouldn't let them smoke or play cards.

At very least, it would lead to a better mutual understanding.

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 09:52 AM

seems to me edgar is a true anti-semite: he seems to hate both semites, arabs and jews.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 09:57 AM

Edgar, it is creative thinking like ours, and courageous, innovative ideas, that will lead to peace. Let's organize a three-day conference on a university campus to raise awareness of these solutions.

Posted by: Noah Pollak at June 17, 2007 09:57 AM

Edgar: your view of Jews and Muslims is insulting. You infantalize both groups with your weenie roast "solution" in the woods. Twister indeed!

Has it been tried? Never mind Camp David and Oslo: go back to 1937 and the Peel Commission Report. Why not read a little history?

And for God's sake have a little respect for people of other cultures! This is a serious situation that deserves serious analysis and debate. You read Josh Scholar's multi-point analysis and just pretended that all the things he enumerated just don't exist. Either that or you didn't and that's even worse. Which is it?

Posted by: Abu Nudnik at June 17, 2007 10:00 AM

"Edgar" is just having a little cheap fun.

I believe Noah sees it, too.

And speaking of trust falls, you think that was what was happening on top of the Fatah security HQ the other day?

I'm more interested in the apparent leak that Barak is assembling a force of 20,000 for some kind of operation in gaza in the coming weeks.

That's the kind of Kumbayah the Paleos understand.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 17, 2007 10:06 AM

MJT,

Second you advocate ethnic cleansing as a solution -- as if Jews would ever do that after the Holocaust.

Famous 'post-Zionist', 'new historian' Benny Morris told Ha'aretz that - in a war situation in which Israeli Arabs were a threat - he would support kicking them out of the country. And that's one leftist academic. I'm not suggesting that Israelis are about to 'go Bosnian' all of a sudden. However, in an all-out war, Israelis would likely worry about a genuine Holocaust of themselves before thinking of the moral problems with ethnic cleansing.

I'm always intrigued by the comment that "because of the Holocaust", Jews will never behave in a particular way to people they see as a threat. Really? Wouldn't we expect Jews to go batshit crazy on anyone who looks funny at 'em?

Posted by: MattW at June 17, 2007 10:08 AM

Abu Nudnik: "And for God's sake have a little respect for people of other cultures! This is a serious situation that deserves serious analysis and debate."

That's what's so good about Twister: it's suitable for people of "all colors."

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 10:11 AM
And speaking of trust falls, you think that was what was happening on top of the Fatah security HQ the other day?

{Stifling laughter}

Too soon?

Nah.

I'm more interested in the apparent leak that Barak is assembling a force of 20,000 for some kind of operation in gaza in the coming weeks.

I do not trust a single word written by Uzi Mahnaimi of the Sunday Times. He was the one responsible for the 'ethnic bomb' report.

Posted by: MattW at June 17, 2007 10:15 AM

noah, edgar is a troll and what frankfurt calls "bullshitter". all he wants is attention. don't give it to him and he'll go away after a while.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 10:21 AM

I wonder where these bullshit reports actually come from. Are they simply outright lies, or is it just naive journalists believing what some "source" told them?

It's always the British newspapers that seem to have them (e.g. "Report: Israel making preparations for attack on Al-Qaeda bases in northwest Pakistan with U.S. coordination.")

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 10:22 AM

noah,

the only conferences on campuses these days have "death to israel" as the underlying theme.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 10:22 AM

Speaking of which, FP, what happened to your planned departure?

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 10:23 AM

El presidente compasivo must act quickly to admit the inhabitants of Gaza to the United States as refugees. They will contribute another valued element to the multicultural melenge that so enriches our country and can work closely with their recently admitted Iraqi brothers. I suggest settling them in Detroit, Minneapolis, and California.

Viva El Presidente Jorge bin Jorge al-Bush!

Islam is a religion of peace!

Allahu akbar!

Posted by: Realist at June 17, 2007 10:32 AM

Jpost just reported that four katyusha's landed on Kiryat Shmona. Property damage but no injuries, thankfully. Hezbullah denies responsibility. IDF thinks it's a Palestinian splinter group that supports Hamas.

Posted by: Zak at June 17, 2007 10:37 AM

zak,

impossible. how could this be when UNIFIL is there and just assured olmert that everything is under control. let's bring them to gaza too.

this may turn out to be very interesting: a new front from lebanon opened by islamists -- what if hezbollah decides to take advantage and step in, but deny it?

wanna guess what UNIFIL will do? it won't do zilch about the islamists, but it sure will prevent israel from taking action.

and we have olmert, peretz and livni to tank for it.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 10:46 AM

I would change edgars plan a little:

1. Invite Hamas to the BBQ and camping party.
2. Do a few trust falls.
3. Play capture the flag.
4. When the Hamas leadership asks what is going to be BBQ'ed the Israeli's say "You, mother-fucker"(in hebrew of course) and then get some napalm on Hamas asap.

This won't improve the situation in Gaza (nothing will), but it isn't a bad idea to kill people who want to exterminate you.

Posted by: mikek at June 17, 2007 10:52 AM

must read. may put gaza in the proper context.

http://www.bloggernews.net/17810

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 11:10 AM

and olmert is just the guy to help:

But with Hamas in charge and threatening to treat any foreign soldiers as "occupiers," few countries seemed likely to commit troops. Israel has proposed defusing this by turning to Arab and Muslim states as potential peacekeeper contributors.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 11:14 AM

CNN reported the rockets had been set on timers.

One apparently fell near the UN troops in Lebanon.

Posted by: Sophia at June 17, 2007 11:21 AM

Matt, Israel is not "bat shit crazy." They are a remarkably level-headed, concrete people -- unlike their neighbors. That is why, MJT is correct, they are not going to storm Gaza on some kind of cleanout mission. On one level, having Hamastan helps Israel on the public opinion front. Every time one of those Mishuganahs appears on TV dancing on top of a desk or whatever, people around the world shudder.

Posted by: stephanie at June 17, 2007 11:44 AM

stephanie:

On one level, having Hamastan helps Israel on the public opinion front. Every time one of those Mishuganahs appears on TV dancing on top of a desk or whatever, people around the world shudder.

But on a more important level, the reality of Hamastan means Jews will be targeted and killed. Fuck world opinion in that case.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 17, 2007 11:48 AM

Both the US and Israel have been trying to balance a 'red-on-red' game in which Fatah and Hamas would tear each other's throats out, and the last one standing would then get whacked by the Israelis.

That hasn't worked well, and in retrospect it's obvious why. Hamas is a disciplined terrorist organization, and Fatah is an ill-mannered, ill-led, undisciplined kleptocracy that also is a terrorist organization. Discipline beats crookery every time.

So the notion that Mahmoud Abbas now is going to fix things in Fatah's favor on the West Bank is rather silly. He doesn't have a mandate to fight the Joooz, he had a mandate to be in charge while the Tunis-Fatah faction locked the place up. The Fatah boys wanted a lackey in charge and that's who they put up. Abbas' job was to provide a genial face to the world and make sure the boodle got divided according to instructions. He's not a military leader. Dahlan is but he's not enough to make a difference, and (as I recall being reported) he's in Egypt right now.

People say that Hamas was elected because people were disgusted with Fatah and the corruption. Partly true, no doubt, but the Palestinians understood very well what Hamas is: it's a terrorist organization dedicated to the extermination of Israel. They've never wavered, and more and more they're the strong horse amongst the Palestinians. That's why they're popular even as Gaza has become Mogadishu. Anyone with any sense knew this day was coming the moment Hamas won the election.

The clearest point of that election is this: the Palestinian people, given five decades of propaganda and indoctrination, have become a terrorist society. The large majority of the people in Gaza and West Bank support what Hamas preaches. The notion that Abbas, or any other so-called 'moderate' (that word does not mean what you think it means) is going to lead the Palestinians to a peace agreement with Israel is absurd. The Palestinians don't want a peace agreement. They've demonstrated that.

The Palestinian leaders, from Arafat on down, have spent the last fifty years turning their population into a terrorist society. It's worked. If I'm an Israeli leader, all my potential solutions start from that realization.

Posted by: Steve White at June 17, 2007 12:15 PM

Hamas is a disciplined military organization?! firing like zillions of bullets in the air is disciplined? getting themselves videotaped lynching a man is disciplined?

Look, Hamas is not new. It's been de facto in control of Gaza for a long time. And the place was the Wild West.

What I'm saying also goes to the point about "Hamas is here so Jews will get killed." Hamas looks to be better armed; and to the extent that the Alpha Dog always attracts recruits, then they've picked up recruits. What i'm saying is I don't get that people are treating this as a new situation. It's the same old, same old, but a little worse.

As

Posted by: stephanie at June 17, 2007 12:23 PM

stephanie,

steve was referring to the discipline of fighting "the enemy", not of governing. neither fatah nor hamas are disciplined in the latter sense, which is the root problem.

the important question which steve answers is "why have not the pals produced anything but fatah and hamas? the world's answer is US and Israel. bullocks.

it's nost just the same, but a little worse. when you've got rising judeophobia in the west and delusions that the global jihad can be appeased by throwing the jews to the wolves, and when Iran and syria are surrouanding Israel with uncontrollable genocidal islamists, and when Israel has practically no leadership, well, that should raise concern, to put it politely.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 12:33 PM

MJT wrote:

"I can't imagine working for a company that makes excuses for those who would kidnap me."

I don't think even the cartoonish Melanie Philips is accusing Hamas of kidnapping Alan Johnston, Michael.

...and if you look at the link in Philips predictably outraged piece (outrage is her natural state - it has proved very lucrative for that woman over the years) what the BBC's Jeremy Bowen actually says is that if a Hamas takeover was not the desired outcome - and we can assume it was not - then the policies of Israel and the West have failed.

Not the same thing as "...blaming Israel" for the events.... but then again, Melanie Philips is a journalist of the lowest order, and IMHO Noah would do well to avoid linking to her articles, as this undermines the credibility of all the very informed pieces he also linked to.

I am closer to the Alan Johnston situation than many posters here, including Mustapha, who shaefully sugegsts the organisation would tweak its coverage as a "thank you" to Hamas... and I can tell you that the BBC has tried everything reasonable to try and get Alan back - except the one thing that will endanger all journalists in the future - something Fox News did without a second thought... and that was to pay a ransom to the kidnappers.

Posted by: Microraptor at June 17, 2007 12:36 PM

israelis ARE generally level-headed. unfortunately, their current elite is incompetent, confused and corrupt. and that includes those who are up to replacing olmert. they already failed in the past.

would you call what they did in lebanon level-headed? i don't have a problem with deterrence via disproportionate respons, but that does not mean doing it stupidly, which is how they did it.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 12:39 PM

raptor,

bullocks.

there are no policies that were not tried. none worked because of the root problem: the only strategy the pals have for the future is eliminating israel. that's why they only produce hamas and fatah.

as to phillips, one would have to be insane not to be enraged at what is happening in the world: everything is upside down and backwards.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 12:42 PM

Microraptor:

and I can tell you that the BBC has tried everything reasonable to try and get Alan back

One other thing they have never done is report the real news instead of acting as the Palestinian's de facto official press agency.

Alan Johnston is just the latest poster boy for the corrupt relationship between terrorists and their western media whores and enablers.

I lose no sleep over Alan Johnston's predicament. He should have known better. Guess he figured that since he's not a Jew.............

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 17, 2007 12:42 PM

"Murder Pigs"

I love it.

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 12:55 PM

Wow- So much hate within these comments. I just wanted to point out that I had genuinely enjoyed reading MJT's articles up until the point Melanie Phillips was quoted. I'm not sure citing a hate-mongerer is the best way to prove that the BBC is biased. Something else that I find amusing is that I had found the BBC considerably PRO-Israel, especiallu during Israel's bombardment of Lebanon.

Posted by: LH at June 17, 2007 12:59 PM

Jack M:

There will be no peace for the Palestinian people (the murder pigs) until they lose completely.

That much I believe is true. Real peace requires a complete and total defeat of the aggressor Arabs.

=======

LH:

Wow- So much hate within these comments.

What's not to hate about Hamas? That's a rhetorical question - please don't respond.
---------------

I had found the BBC considerably PRO-Israel, especiallu during Israel's bombardment of Lebanon.

mmmmmKAY

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 17, 2007 01:09 PM

LH just provided a validation of Phillips' rage:
it is not the jihadis and genocidal murderers that are full of hate, it is Phillips.

if that is not upside down and backward I dk what is.

betcha LH is a leftie.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 01:10 PM

Stephanie,

Hamas is a disciplined terrorist organization: they have a clear goal, a clear strategy, and rather impressive training (for terrorists). They know what they want and where they're going.

I did not say that they were a disciplined military organization; and of course (as you correctly note) there's a world of difference between the two: were the Hamas gunnies to run into a well-disciplined military unit (e.g., the IDF or the US Marines) they'd lose big time. Their calculation, and we'll see if it's correct or not, is that they won't be fighting a military operation anytime soon. My review of what's out there (and of course I could be wrong) is that they honestly don't think Israel will come after them in the near future.

I'd like to hear what MJT and Noah think of that.

Posted by: Steve White at June 17, 2007 01:10 PM

FP, thank you for the link to
the review of Fuad Hussein's inverviews with Al Qaeda's current leadership.

It validates what I've been saying, that the reason for creating a Caliphate is to make conquest (world conquest in Al Qa'eda's goals) permissible.

What is Iran's position on the Caliphate? They must consider Iran itself to be a legitimate authority - a Caliphate in the making.

The reviewer's opinion that Muslim masses are amenable to these insane plans, specifically because they are religious not based in reality is a frightening one.

I notice that Al Qa'eda's plan includes attacking Israel, specifically for the purpose of gaining popularity among Muslims, the same thing that Iran is doing...

So I wonder if Al Qa'eda could never have the power to accomplish its goals, is it possible that Iran could do them in Al Qa'eda's stead. Could Iran, Shiite though they are, become the new Caliphate? Could Iran start a world war that Muslims will support?

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 17, 2007 01:18 PM

Microraptor writes, what the BBC's Jeremy Bowen actually says is that if a Hamas takeover was not the desired outcome - and we can assume it was not - then the policies of Israel and the West have failed.

I'm not so sure that was the goal. I think (don't know since I don't work at the White House) what GWB wanted was to give the Palestinians a clear choice and see what they made of it. The choice was Hamas v Fatah (admittedly not a great choice). The underlying choice was 1) the extirpation of Israel (e.g., Hamas) or 2) some sort of accomodation in the future (e.g., Fatah and Abbas).

The Palestinian people chose extirpation and have acted accordingly.

Now some will say, "nonsense, they chose Hamas because Hamas presented itself as the reformers, and Fatah was well-known to be crooks". That's a superficial review: Hamas has always called for jihad and extirpation in its charter. And the Palestinians know that; Hamas has made sure they do.

So GWB may be wily as a fox here: let the Palestinian people declare what they want, openly, and then react accordingly. We did; we cut off the money; even the EU cut off the money, and the UN has now bailed out of Gaza. The world pretty much figured it out.

I also think we've been trying to be too-cute with a 'red-on-red' strategy that got out of hand, as witness Hamas seizing the arms we sent to Fatah. But we can fix that.

If you look at GWB's foreign policy objectively (e.g., no BDS), two things stand out -- 1) he really, really believes in personal liberty, and wants more people to have it even if the interim result (Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza) is messy and rotten with some faith that it will be better in the long term, and 2) he rejects all the 'realism' that his predicessors, including his own father, have used in the Middle East. He's a pretty darned radical president in that regard. Agree or disagree with the man, he's clearly different than our past presidents.

Posted by: Steve White at June 17, 2007 01:21 PM

I just read the Melanie Phillips article linked in Noah's round up and I must say that some of you are shooting down the message because you don't like the messenger. Phillips, at least in this case, is pretty spot-on. A bit shrill and angry, yes, but not wrong or off the mark. And if anybody thinks the BBC is pro-Israel now or during the Lebanon war last summer, they are not in a situation to rationally comment on Phillips (or perhaps anything, for that matter).

Posted by: Zak at June 17, 2007 01:22 PM

"Jack M" , Edgar etc.

We have a troll infestation - one I judge to be a dishonest an attempt at discrediting Michael and his readership by posting frankly genocidal comments. I hope that someone with admin privileges takes steps to protect Michael's reputation from these liars.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 17, 2007 01:26 PM

Akiva M. wrote:

IMO, part of the reason the middle east conflict is insoluble is that it has been kept at a fairly stable level as a low intensity conflict that nobody can win or lose decisively for the past several decades.

The deeper reason the conflict is viewed as “insoluble” is that the people of Israel, like the people of America, have swallowed the notion that the civilians that live in places like Gaza and the West Bank have the right to escape any consequences of living with mass murderers in their midst and in their government -- that these “innocent civilians” have the right to go on living normally even as their murderous neighbor launches attacks at the civilians of another country -- that the targets of these attacks must tolerate them, thus surrendering their right to live normally, unless they can guarantee that any effort at self-defense will not endanger the “innocent civilians” -- and that the moral responsibility for any “innocent civilians” killed in a retaliatory attack rests with those who are defending themselves, while the murderers who make the retaliation necessary bear no responsibility at all.

Obviously, this doctrine invites and permits terrorists and murderers of every sort to use human shields with impunity. Under these conditions, the situation in the middle east is indeed insoluble and stopping Islamic terrorism is impossible.

Of course, if you question this doctrine, you will be accused of advocating genocide and/or ethnic cleansing.

Had this doctrine been as widely held in 1940 as it is today, the Nazis and the Japanese Imperialists would have wound up fighting each other for control of the world.

Posted by: Michael Smith at June 17, 2007 01:28 PM

the middle east conflict is insoluble is that it has been kept at a fairly stable level as a low intensity conflict that nobody can win or lose decisively for the past several decades.

That, I completely agree with.

But you say lining up the howitzers and USING them is "over the top" (and now we know the real reason why this conflict is insoluble).

Posted by: Carlos at June 17, 2007 01:31 PM

I appreciate the comments of Edgar and mraptor. They continue to view this situation through their western world view. Problems are to be solved by rational people and if things don't work, figure out who screwed up and fix it.

Josh and others seem to have a firmer hand on the cultural context in which this is being played out.

How do you negotiate with people who send their children to blow up other people's children? In a fast food restaurant. At a wedding. What kind of culture or society celbrates this kind of activity? Celebrates the death of innocents.

The Israelis have a lot to answer for, but for me it all changed when I realized the standards of civilized conduct don't exist for the other side.

You can side with the intellectual tradition of the west, or you can side with the people who dance in the street when babies are killed.

There really isn't much middle ground any more.

Posted by: JohnOh at June 17, 2007 01:32 PM

Damn it, Nudnik, you had to beat me to the punch with the Aza rooftop reference. Oh well... The least I can do is enlighten those who didn't get the reference.

You see, one of the extra-curricular activities Hamasniks have been participating in this past week is flinging Fatah folks and other assorted enemies off of 10-15 story rooftops (news.google "hamas rooftop death" for all the stories you might want). Someone apparently forgot to tell them that you're not supposed to go higher than a picnic table...

[sarc] Noah, go tell Haniyeh and let me know what he says, k? [/sarc]

Posted by: Josh (but not Josh Scholar) at June 17, 2007 01:33 PM

LH:

"I had found the BBC considerably PRO-Israel,"

Wow. I didn't know they even made drugs that powerful.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at June 17, 2007 01:39 PM

josh,

actually the best explanation of global islamism I've seen is by olivier roy. he makes very good sense of global jihad, and it's not religiosity. here's a must read:

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2104875,00.html

This also explains why the current GWOT is failing and that appeasement is EXACTLY what the west should NOT do.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 01:40 PM

I'm not sure citing a hate-mongerer is the best way to prove that the BBC is biased.

Of course you don't thing the BBC is biased (you think Melanie Phillips is a hate monger). If anything, the BBC is probably far right to you.

The only thing that makes Melanie Phillips a "hate mongerer" is that she points out the all too obvious. Like that fact that the BBC is biased.

Posted by: Carlos at June 17, 2007 01:42 PM

steve,

you're generally correct, but I suggest that you read Toameh's article that Noah linked to.

The point is that by imposing Arafat's corrupt regime via Oslo, the israelis made it easier for hamas to gain popularity.

and they are about to make the same mistake again by propping up fatah. it is discredited and it lost so easily in gaza because it was hated by the population (read about Dahalan's racket).

so there are two problems here: otoh the pals did not produce honest leadership that can compromise with israel; and otoh the west has done everything they could over and over again to reinforce that problem.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 01:47 PM

JohnOh:

"The Israelis have a lot to answer for, but for me it all changed when I realized the standards of civilized conduct don't exist for the other side."

Two words: Thank you.

From my comments here and on other blogs, readers probably figure I'm a super-Likudnik who shares the "ethnic cleansing" sentiments of some. In reality I do not think Israel is faultless, I don't think the West Bank settlements were a good idea, and I realize Israel has sometimes been overly harsh to the Palestinians. But what has been driving me up the wall for decades now is the resolute refusal of Israel's critics to attach any blame whatsover to the Arabs. Despite Israel's mistakes the blame for the perpetuation of this conflict lies overwhelminglly with the other side. And the failure to acknowledge this has done nothing except embolden the worst tendencies in the most extremist groups, which is why people are now being thrown off the roofs of buildings.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at June 17, 2007 01:58 PM

gary,

i think the west including the US has contributed more to the problem than israel.

i agree that the settlements were not the smartest thing, but it created something that can be negotiated over.

furthermore, i don't think that without the settlements the pals would have acted differently. but now they can use them as a prop as if they are the main problem, thus fooling the west.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 02:07 PM

Jack M, if your goal is not discrediting Israel's defense then you have to be very careful about the line between condemnation and hate mongering and (especially at the same time) the line between defense and ethnic cleansing or genocide.

If you wish to make the case that peace isn't possible while Palestinians live next to Israelis, then you have to be VERY careful how you make that case. It is a case for ethnic cleansing and even the most careful transfer could easily turn into be a real meat-grinder of a war whether you wanted it to or not and even the confiscation of land would be taken, all over the world, as proof positive that Israel is the aggressor.

The fact is that Israel can win with far less than maximal responses, though it does need to get rid of the doctrine of distinguishing between the soldier and the society that fielded that soldier.

Imagine if the US' response to pearl harbor was to demand that Japan arrested the pilots that dropped the bombs on our ships.

That is what Israel has been doing.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 17, 2007 02:11 PM

Lilmamzer wrote: "Alan Johnston is just the latest poster boy for the corrupt relationship between terrorists and their western media whores and enablers.

I lose no sleep over Alan Johnston's predicament. He should have known better. Guess he figured that since he's not a Jew....."

He should have known better?! WTF... Lilmamzer, you are writing things that make you look a c*nt of the highest order.

According to you, journalists ought not go to places where things are dangerous in case something bad happens to them, and if it does they are asking for it?!

Is that this you'd post if something happens (God forbid) to MJT when he goes to Iraq the next time.... or if Noah goes to south Lebanon again.... "Too bad for those guys but...they should've known better."

Let all the dictators and terrorists round the world follow through on that one Lilmamzer... cos it's the end of the free press as we know it.

All the thugs of the world have to do is intimidate, kidnap and murder journalists, and the journalists will soon think "Why do I bother? Our audiences in the West don't care about us or the risks we take. They just smuggly tappity-tap on their computer keyboards from the safety of their own homes and say that we should've known better."

Lilmamzer, I don't know if you are actually an idiot. But that statement you made was really stupid. I think you ought to apologise, not only to Alan Johnston (wherever he is.... chained to a radiator in a Gaza basement perhaps, or maybe even dead) but also to Noah and to MJT... these men also take risks to bring us stories from these dangerous places.... and they probably do know better, but bravely take the risk anyway.

Posted by: Microraptor at June 17, 2007 02:13 PM

raptor,

not so fast with inferences.

the point was not that johnston should not be there, the point is can he be there and be an objective reporter. if he cannot do that, then he's not very useful.

now, given the state of reporting by BBC in the ME in general, it is hard to tell where fear ends and personal bias or going native begins. not to mention internalized notions of what the editors expect you to say. but that is not useful either.

but the most important point here is that the BBC fails to realize that even when you massage genocidal maniacs it does not buy you protection. which means that the BBC is fucked up real good.
and it's no wonder, given that they live on taxes and govt monopoly.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 02:33 PM

Jeez... I'm not advocating genocide. I just found the term "murder pig" very funny, if a little disturbing.

I do however, advocate Kumbaya, singsongs, campfires, and a fight-to-the-finish Twister tournament for everyone.

I can't believe someone accused me of cultural insensitity when others are throwing around terms like "paleostinian."

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 02:41 PM

jack,

i think a murderous culture of death due to failure of political islam would do just fine.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 02:42 PM

Please judge me the same way you judge Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas over those meaningless phrases "ethnic cleansing" and "hate mongering".

Jack M you want me to judge you the same as I judge Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bashar Al-Assad, Hassan Nasrallah and Sheikh Yassin? You obviously have lower standards for civilized behavior than most of society.

Why do I have to "be careful"?

So that you don't discredit everyone you approve, every policy you might support and every person who makes the mistake of being polite to you in public.

And you don't seem to have any bad things to say about the palestinians.

You have obviously never read my comments, even my most recent ones.

You say that Israel can win with "far less than maximul responses". Why not play it safe and kill all the "militants" they can? So they can stay in, say, France's good graces? Hmmmn, that's a loser ... Okay, maybe "murder pigs" isn't nice. Let's call them Dog People.

Maybe you're not trying to discredit all of the hawks here by sounding like a Nazi, maybe you're just an idiot. But either way this comment section would be better off without you making Michael and the rest of the hawks here look like fucking brownshirts.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 17, 2007 02:47 PM

Josh Scholar,

Why do you seem to care so much how things "look"?

I'm guessing MJT is away and can't either warn people not to cross the line or ban them, etc. But how bad could you and all the other "hawks" possibly look in a window of a day maximum before the comments get deleted?

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 02:55 PM

"The Popular Resistance Committees, an alliance of various armed groups, announced over the weekend that its men stormed Dahlan's house and confiscated a suitcase full of gold, forged US and Pakistani passports and an ID card belonging to Nissim Toledano, an Israeli Border Police officer from Lod who was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas in December 1992."

Ah, those moderates, can't wait to sign a peace agreement with them.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 02:58 PM

Microraptor: I don't think even the cartoonish Melanie Philips is accusing Hamas of kidnapping Alan Johnston, Michael.

Yes, you're right, I assumed Hamas had him. They don't.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 17, 2007 03:05 PM

i am willing to bet that they knew where he is. it's just that they don't have as tight a control on everything as the MSM seem to think.

the notion of a legitimate authority does not exist for the pals.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 03:09 PM

We are not going to discuss the pros and cons of ethnic cleansing on this Web site.

All comments advocating it will be deleted.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 17, 2007 03:09 PM

All comments by Jim Rockford and Jack M are gone.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 17, 2007 03:11 PM

jack,

actually you misinterpreted what i said.

islamism is a crisis of identity caused by the failure of islamic society to deal with modernization and globalization and compete with the west.

moslim young men can't cope with the gap and islamism is a way for them to avoid dealing with the failure.

i urge you to read roy, it explains a lot of things, including the west's incompetence in understanding and properly responding to it.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 03:14 PM

on johnston:

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=25888_Army_of_Islam_Threatens_to_Kill_BBC_Reporter&only

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 03:19 PM

stephanie,

Matt, Israel is not "bat shit crazy." They are a remarkably level-headed, concrete people -- unlike their neighbors. That is why, MJT is correct, they are not going to storm Gaza on some kind of cleanout mission. On one level, having Hamastan helps Israel on the public opinion front. Every time one of those Mishuganahs appears on TV dancing on top of a desk or whatever, people around the world shudder.

Yeah, they shudder and go back to what they were doing.

You misunderstand my comment about Israel. Not only do I imply that Israel is not batshit crazy, I hinted at the benefits. Israel today is predictable and not especially intimidating. There was that West Wing episode in which Sheen asks, "what is the virtue of a proportional response?" The discussions that followed demonstrated there wasn't one, but Sheen ordered one anyway. On one level, the U.S. can afford to. Israel cannot.

Hamas is a disciplined military organization?! firing like zillions of bullets in the air is disciplined? getting themselves videotaped lynching a man is disciplined?

'Disciplined' might be pushing it. However, they are more effective than some street gang or militia. They might not be Hezbollah, but they can put up a bit of a fight. Fatah couldn't, so they lost.

Oh, and for those who believed that crap about the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades being 'loosely affiliated' with Fatah: they did not attack Hamas until Abbas gave the all-clear.

Posted by: MattW at June 17, 2007 03:29 PM

Is it possible that in future roundups of events, sources with a more varied ideology be included?

Posted by: tg at June 17, 2007 03:31 PM

Microraptor,

According to you, journalists ought not go to places where things are dangerous in case something bad happens to them, and if it does they are asking for it?!

Johnston and the BBC have been churning out anti-Israel bollocks for years now. The BBC and the various media groups (including the less than impartial palestinian press) have campaigned for his release on the grounds that he is a 'friend of the palestinian people'. That is the delusion Johnston (et al) have: that because they are friendly to these murderous terrorists, they deserve special treatment.

It is similar to the rubbish we heard after Zarqawi hit the UN HQ in Iraq in 2003. But we're different! The jihadis don't think so.

And I'll bet that, if Johnston makes it out alive, the first thing he'll do once in front of a mic is say how great the poor palestinians are.

That is a big if, though: Gaza group threatens to kill Johnston

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1181813056307&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Posted by: MattW at June 17, 2007 03:33 PM

MJT,

Yes, you're right, I assumed Hamas had him. They don't.

True. But they (and Fatah) have known where he is being held.

Posted by: MattW at June 17, 2007 03:52 PM

If the kidnappers are linked to anyone, it's probably Fatah. Most of these kidnappings seem to happen because the people doing them want jobs in the security services. They use it as a way to pressure the people in power.

The kidnappers are probably extremely pissed off now, and worried. I doubt Hamas is going to cut them a deal, especially if they were former PA policemen or something like that.

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 04:18 PM

Edgar wrote: "I wonder where these bullshit reports actually come from. Are they simply outright lies, or is it just naive journalists believing what some "source" told them?

It's always the British newspapers that seem to have them (e.g. "Report: Israel making preparations for attack on Al-Qaeda bases in northwest Pakistan with U.S. coordination.")"

You are very right, it IS usually the British press, mainly the weekend editions and very often the Sunday Times.... and what they do is the hacks have a little sit down with an anonymous "security source" who then tells them, for example...

"You know what, if there is extra terrestrial intelligence out there (and I am not sayin there is) and they developed a death-ray, I sure as hell wouldn't like to see Al Qaeda get a-hold of it...."

...and then you read a headline (note the all important quotation marks which mean the paper is supposedly not responsible for the nonsense it prints) which reads thus.

Al QAEDA IN TERROR "ALIEN DEATH RAY" FEAR:
Wibble, wibble, wibble...security sources told this newspaper wibble, wibble, wibble... Alien Death Ray...wibble, wibble Al Qaeda wibble...

Turn to page 2 for a graphic on how the Alien Death Ray might work.

Page 3 on How the SAS are preparing to take out the Alien-Qaeda Alliance!!!

Page 4. Practical anti Alien Death Ray steps you can take to protect your family (with anopther graphic)

Page 5. David Beckham voices celebrity Alien Death Ray fears.

Page 6. Melanie Phillips on why all Aliens are genocidal anti-Semites.

Page 7. George Galloway on why the Aliens are kind and nice.

This is a by-product of the unparalleled culture of spin and secret personal briefings that has infested British journalism -- especially print journalism -- since the rise of New Labour. In the same newspaper, buried on page 18, will be the story that the govt dept who briefed on the non-existant laser beam wanted to hide.

Two weeks later said govt. department will quietly admit there are no aliens and no death ray. But by then we will have passed a raft of anti-ET legislation and imprisoned anyone with a beard who ever saw Star Wars.

Posted by: Microraptor at June 17, 2007 04:22 PM

Microraptor,

I think the worst ones have to be the stories relating to supposed "breakthroughs" in hostage negotiations. These rags will often feature "reports" about how Gilad Shalit will be released imminently, with Belgian help, and nonsense like that.

It might be amusing to us when they have a story about a new Israeli weapon or devious master strategy, but it's not so amusing for families of captured Israeli soldiers to read about a new "development" in the fate of their loved ones (and then it turns out to be absolute bullshit).

Especially when it happens every few months.

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 04:32 PM

Matt: Gotcha. Ok. I see what you mean

as for Hamas. It will be reeeeaaally interesting to see if Haniyeh makes good on his promises to "restore law and order" in the streets of Gaza. But it's going to be hard to find out given that, as this point, there's only like one Western journalist there. And I hope his press card doesn't list his real last name.....Daniel Pearl thought he was safe meeting some guys at a busy coffee shop.

Posted by: stephanie at June 17, 2007 04:48 PM

Funny stuff there, Microraptor.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 17, 2007 04:50 PM

Microraptor:

According to you, journalists ought not go to places where things are dangerous in case something bad happens to them, and if it does they are asking for it?!

No, you weren't paying close enough attention. According to me, "journalists" ought not to be the media whores of terrorists and their obscene causes.

Alan Johnston chooses to make his career with the BBC.

MJT and Noah, on the other hand, choose the honorable route.

Shame on you for conflating the two.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 17, 2007 05:01 PM

while the british may be worse, all of journalism all over has deteriorated to crap.

the reason is that most working journalists today are ignorant of the subjects they cover. they don't have the background necessary to put what they cover in proper context. hence the sensationalism of the headers and the shallowness of the content. and they are all owned by corporations who just wanna cut costs to make a profit.

even the biggies -- NYT, WP -- are full of nothing but crap.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 05:02 PM

"choose the honorable route" lilmamzer

So what you imply is that only pro-Israeli's are 'honourable'? So people who are with Israeli political opinion are honourable, and those who are not (some of which are Jewish and even Israelis) arenot because presumably they are just dirty scum?

Thats probably the most rediculous thing I've ever heard. Next time a family member is killed by Israel, whatever the reason may be, try saying that without laughing.

I mean if I were to say the opposite of what you say and call Anti-Israel (not anti-Isreali) reporters 'honourable', then I would ofcourse be an anti-semite - or if I were a Jew, ofcourse, the good ol' self-hating Jew (???).

To me the honourable journalists are the ones whom report their true, solemn and honest opinion and facts of what is going on without swaying neither side for anyone, whoever it may be. I guess that may be includes you MJT...

Posted by: Rico at June 17, 2007 05:13 PM

Rico:
So what you imply is that only pro-Israeli's are 'honourable'?

No, that's what you infer. I'm saying that the BBC is so blatantly biased against Israel, and in expressing that bias routinely whitewashes the truly genocidal horrors of the Palestinian side, that I do not consider Alan Johnston's career choice to be honorable. I am not saying that, in the course of good reporting, stories about Israeli policies or actions that may reflect poorly on Israel aren't justified or even necessary. Of course they are.
---------------
I mean if I were to say the opposite of what you say and call Anti-Israel (not anti-Isreali) reporters 'honourable', then I would ofcourse be an anti-semite - or if I were a Jew, ofcourse, the good ol' self-hating Jew (???).

If you consistently apply a standard to Israel that you do not apply to any other nation, well, then you might indeed be that redneck, to paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 17, 2007 05:22 PM

rico,

get hold of some sources on logic and try to figure out what a logical inference is, because you dk.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 05:36 PM

It might be amusing to us when they have a story about a new Israeli weapon or devious master strategy, but it's not so amusing for families of captured Israeli soldiers to read about a new "development" in the fate of their loved ones (and then it turns out to be absolute bullshit).

It’s not amusing to me. It’s scary. We have to view these stories in the context of Jewish history. We Jews have suffered millions of deaths throughout the centuries because of people believing the most ludicrous lies and slander about us. Alas, it is not amusing when such lies and slander continue till today in the British media about supposed Israeli-designed biological weapons designed to kill only Arabs, or supposed Israeli use of nuclear weapons in Lebanon last summer. I wouldn’t be surprised to read a report in the British media that the Israelis are poisoning Arab wells, but of course that would hardly be original. Our British friends are much more cleaver than that.

Considering the Muslim world is inclined to believe the absolute worst about Jews, journalists have a serious obligation to consider what they publish.

Posted by: Zak at June 17, 2007 05:41 PM

Zak:
Considering the Muslim world is inclined to believe the absolute worst about Jews, journalists have a serious obligation to consider what they publish.

This is why the BBC, the Guardian, and other British sources are so pernicious: they have editors "considering" everything that makes it to print.

Posted by: lilmamzer at June 17, 2007 05:45 PM

I think one reason journalism has deteriorated is because the profession demands a lot of hard work and there is a lot of pressure and it’s a high stress job, yet the pay is terrible. The result is that truly talented people move on to more lucrative pastures. Another result is the people that do stick with it are the ones with an agenda (idealism in their eyes). So, you have a profession of exploited beginners coupled with folks with an agenda, and considering most journalists are on the left, their agenda is leftist.

Posted by: Zak at June 17, 2007 05:52 PM

The fact that Hamas has lots of weapons has little to do with the situation. There is probably a greater percentage of people owning firearms in the United States, yet one does not not observe the sort of civil war occurring in the U.S. as occurs in the Palestinian areas. There are many differences, of course, but I think that the Palestinians are 'governed' by little more that Mafia-type gangs [different motives, same methods], who take what they want when they want, as long as they have the firepower to do so.

It's not the prevalence of guns that is the problem: it's the ideals and attitudes of the Palestinians. They are consumed by hate, and have no historical committment to property rights of the rule of law, so of course there is anarchy.

Posted by: Henry Bowman at June 17, 2007 06:07 PM

Time to get some grains of salt ...

The three 107mm rockets fired against Kiryat Shemona from Wadi Taiba Sunday, June 17, by a Palestinian radical group called Ansar Allah based in the Ain Hilwa refugee camp near Sidon was ordered by Syrian military intelligence as the first in a series, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. Hizballah intelligence officers supplied the rockets and pinpointed the launching site to make sure they struck the Israeli town. Residents rushed for bomb shelters for the first time since the Lebanon War ended eleven months ago. A factory and parked vehicles were damaged.

The hit squad drove up in a rental Toyota, rigged the rockets and drove off.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that Syria and Hizballah are preparing an escalating series of rocket barrages against norhern Israel civilian and military locations in the coming weeks. It is a stage in an overall plan orchestrated by Tehran, Damascus and Hizballah to stage attacks in Lebanon, Israel and Palestinian territory. Its objectives are to destabilize the pro-Western Siniora government in Beirut and whittle down Israel’s deterrent strength.

Rocketing Kiryat Shemona was Stage 3 of the plan. Two rockets damaged a factory and a parked vehicle in separate parts of Kiryat Shemona. A third landed near a UNIFIL position inside Lebanon.

Stage one is the five-week old radical Islamic, pro-Damascus uprising in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared, which the Lebanese army has not yet subdued. Stage two was Hamas’ just-completed capture of the Gaza Strip from Fatah and the Palestinian Authority.

DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that in the name of “restraint,” Israel’s government and military leaders refrain from connecting the dots of the campaign ahead and its links to Tehran and Damascus in time to foil it, in the same way as they glossed over Hizballah’s build-up for the 2006 Lebanon war.

According to our intelligence sources, a former Fatah officer called Jamal Suleiman is Ansar Allah’s leader. He moved to Damascus in the 1980s and returned to the Ain Hilwa in Lebanon in April loaded with cash. He then began recruiting for his Ansar al Allah, working to exactly the same Damascus-designed format as the Fatah al-Islam was embedded in the northern camp of Nahr al-Bared.

If Israeli leaders refuse to call a spade a spade, Fatah leaders are more outspoken. Sunday, Azam al Ahmad declared in an interview in Ramallah that the perpetrators of the crime [against the Palestinian Authority in Gaza] are the same people who sent assassins to murder the Lebanese politician Rafiq Hariri, “Both come from the same hand [Syria],” he said.

Posted by: Zak at June 17, 2007 06:20 PM

Oops, forgot to every paragraph.

Posted by: Zak at June 17, 2007 06:21 PM

assuming this is true -- and debka's reliability is quite uneven -- it's exactly what i said would happen: hezbollah would not be involved directly.
the question is what would israel do in such a case, short of attacking syria and iran?

debka seems to give the answer to this question, which is exactly what i would expect from the ostriches that are currently in the israeli govt.

all this is quite interesting given all the history rewriting about the 6-day war, when "there was no danger" and "the war was not necessary" and "it was paranoia".

so israel went from not taking any chances to ignoring all threats. quite encouraging.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 06:38 PM

Turn to page 2 for a graphic on how the Alien Death Ray might work.

Page 3 on How the SAS are preparing to take out the Alien-Qaeda Alliance!!!

Page 4. Practical anti Alien Death Ray steps you can take to protect your family (with anopther graphic)

I guess those practical steps would involve duct tape, plastic sheeting and the confiscation of tweezers and toothpaste.

Then there's the inevitable 'News' programs asking if this week's Armageddon will be, at long last, the real Armageddon....Funny because it's true, and not just in Britain.

Posted by: mary at June 17, 2007 06:57 PM

Zak's quoting of the Debka article is interesting. Yes, Debka frequently gets it wrong.

Assume it's right for the moment. What would Israel do?

Well, they have a new, fire-breathing defense minister. If northern Israel starts getting peppered with missiles again (whether Palestinians or Hezbollah is responsible won't matter much), and Hamas starts launching missiles and attacking border crossings, I would expect Israel to draw the proper conclusion as to who is behind it all.

And I would then expect the IAF to pay a call on Damascus, or one of Mr. Assad's villas. Just to send a personal message.

And that's where things get dicey.

Posted by: Steve White at June 17, 2007 07:26 PM

steve,

are you sure?

if i recall correctly, barak was the one who got out from lebanon in circumstances that were perceived as a weakness, which invited attacks from hezbolla.

and he offered arafat the most only to get an intifada, which is why he was voted out of power.

the fact of the matter is that i don't see ANYBODY in the current israeli elite who will go back to what israel used to be. which is precisely why the syrians, iranians, hezbollah and hamas pound. the sharks see blood in the water.

i think you are still seeing the old israel and i'm afraid it's gone.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 07:42 PM

one more thing: to pay a visit to assad's villa you gotta develop various scenarios of possible reactions and responses. yet this is exactly what the govt did not bother with in lebanon. they kneejerked in the assumption of "shock and awe" and when it did not work they were lost and confused.

i don't see this problem solved and it's not that easy, because now israel operates in a much more difficult regional and generally hostile environment, with guerilla-type actors, and dependent on a superpower in decline and focused on saving its own ass.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 07:50 PM

I want someone to explain this. If Israel's enemies now see her as weak, why are they too afraid to attack head on?

I don't think Syria or Iran actually believes they can destroy Israel using terrorism alone. But that's all they can do. They see Israel as strong, but vulnerable to terrorism.

If taking a hard line against terrorists is all that it takes, the Russians wouldn't have been humiliated in Afghanistan and Chechnya. They were about as brutal as you can get.

I think Stalin was fairly successful against insurgents in Central Asia, but this required mass killings. Obviously Israel cannot and will not do this.

Posted by: Edgar at June 17, 2007 08:04 PM

So I wonder if Al Qa'eda could never have the power to accomplish its goals, is it possible that Iran could do them in Al Qa'eda's stead. Could Iran, Shiite though they are, become the new Caliphate? Could Iran start a world war that Muslims will support?
-Josh

While the possibility of AQ overcoming sectarian differences and cooperating with Iran bears looking into, it does not change the fact that if Iran starts a world war, Iran is doomed, regardless of if the ummah supports it.

I get the distinct impression that al Qaeda's plan is basically to kill as many infidels as possible, the idea being that eventually allah will be sufficiently impressed by their devotion to intervene on their behalf.

Al-Q are a bunch of very dangerous loonies, and the sooner they're all dead the better.

-----

I also think we've been trying to be too-cute with a 'red-on-red' strategy that got out of hand, as witness Hamas seizing the arms we sent to Fatah. But we can fix that.

Dunno. Palestinians killing Palestinians is an improvement (from our point of view) over Palestinians killing Israelis or Israelis killing Palestinians. If I was confident that the Palestinians would only ever use the things to kill other Palestinians, I'd be all for shipping ammo and smallarms over by the boatload.

If crazy aggressive behavior is a negative in the grand scheme of natural selection, eventually, the crazies will kill each other off.

If you look at GWB's foreign policy objectively (e.g., no BDS), two things stand out -- 1) he really, really believes in personal liberty, and wants more people to have it even if the interim result (Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza) is messy and rotten with some faith that it will be better in the long term, and 2) he rejects all the 'realism' that his predicessors, including his own father, have used in the Middle East. He's a pretty darned radical president in that regard. Agree or disagree with the man, he's clearly different than our past presidents.
-Steve White

You have identified one of the two reasons for the respect I still have for him.

I think history will be far kinder to him than his contemporaries are, but I'm still looking forward to Jan 20, 2009.

-----

Wow. I didn't know they even made drugs that powerful.
-Gary Rosen

Yeah. I want to live in that world. It sounds like a much happier place than the one I'm in now.

If it makes you feel better, there are a lot of Americans who recognize that Israel is far from perfect, but consider it vastly superior to a 'country' run by murderous thugs who fight via calculated atrocities.

-----

the reason is that most working journalists today are ignorant of the subjects they cover. [...]
-fp

I think that's always been the case... we're just catching on now.

I first noticed it around a decade ago, when I began noticing errors in a trade magazine covering the field I work in. As my own level of expertise grew, I noticed more and more errors, as well as dramatic similarities between the story content and certain marketing materials.

I wondered if this was just how the trade press worked in my field, so I asked some of my friends, and they said it was similar in their fields. The real eye-opener was the relative who worked for a TV station- she filled me in on "Video news releases" and how local TV news relied on them rarely bothered to verify what was in them.

Posted by: rosignol at June 17, 2007 09:20 PM

While the possibility of AQ overcoming sectarian differences and cooperating with Iran bears looking into, it does not change the fact that if Iran starts a world war, Iran is doomed, regardless of if the ummah supports it.

Yes, I know that. That wasn't the question.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 17, 2007 09:50 PM

rosignol,

There's a saying - "Everything you read in the newspapers is true, except for those things you have personal knowledge of."

Posted by: Gary Rosen at June 17, 2007 09:55 PM

rosignol,

>You have identified one of the two reasons for the respect I still have for him.

we will have to disagree on that. he is like reagan: the extent of his knowledge is that he knows what he wants, nothing more. he just has no clue how to achieve it.

>I think that's always been the case... we're just catching on now.

that's true, but we're talking matter of degree.
with the corporatization of journalism and substituting profits for quality work, and the the collapse of the education system, there is little left. it used to be the case that you could still find some good material in the print media. not anymore.

i used to live in DC and read the WP. when i went there recently and read it i did not recognize it. when i moved to SF the Chronicle had some readable material; now it's full of absolute crap.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 10:39 PM

the problem is not iran, but the west.

it is decdent and knows nothing but appeasement. that's the reason iran is dangerous, not per se.

given that now everybody wants to "engage" them, they interpret this as weakness and may miscalculate. and once they do, who knows? I am not sure i can rely 100% on it being doomed.

there are serious fissures in the islamic world and the west should exploit them. instead the divisions are worst in the west and its policies are unifying islamists instead of dividing them.

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 10:45 PM

here's niall ferguson:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml;jsessionid=JAMRQI2CUFACLQFIQMFCFFWAVCBQYIV0?xml=/opinion/2007/06/17/do1701.xml

Posted by: fp at June 17, 2007 10:46 PM

rosignol: I first noticed it around a decade ago, when I began noticing errors in a trade magazine covering the field I work in.

My wife says the same thing, and her area of knowledge is completely different from mine, no doubt different from that of almost everyone who posts here.

I don't think of myself as even remotely an "expert" on the Middle East, but I do know something about it and am astonished how much of the journalism I read is from an alternate reality Middle East. This is especially true of journalism out of Israel. It is insanely distorted and cartoonish.

One problem I notice is that many foreign correspondents rely heavily on the work of other journalists. Too many don't bother learning about a place from the people who actually live there. Nor do most read many books. Agency reporters are the worst. Magazine reporters are a lot better on average, partly because they can write slower and don't have to spend all their time chasing explosions.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 17, 2007 11:55 PM

Anyone not obsessed with Islamic world domination would recognize the potential opportunity that exists right now as a result of the schism between Hamas and Fatah. Things are different now. Arafat is gone. Hamas has shown its true colors in Gaza, not just against Israel but against rival Palestinians as well. Now the Palestinians have someone else to worry about other than Israel. A lot of people in the West Bank must be wondering where their interests truly lie. IMHO, there may be a brief window of opportunity here where the hearts and minds of a lot of Palestinians is up for grabs.

Fortunately, the much-maligned Israeli government seems to recognize this fact, and is cautiously opting for conciliation with the Abbas government. Releasing Barghouti may not be a bad idea for strengthening the Fatah leadership. Likewise removing roadblocks, releasing tax revenues, etc. I would never have suggested such measures as long as the status quo was in effect, but it seems to me that the current situation is an opportunity worth gambling on.

The worst thing would be for Israel to do nothing, life remains the same for the West Bank Palestinians, and the status quo returns. This would show that the Israelis, no less than the Palestinians, are experts at missed opportunities.

Posted by: MarkC at June 18, 2007 12:05 AM

"One problem I notice is that many foreign correspondents rely heavily on the work of other journalists."

MJT, you should read PJ O'Rourke's "Holiday's in Hell", if you haven't already. He's insanely funny and perceptive. He described a phenomena whereby journalists would get their information by watching it on television in the bar at their hotel. They called this: "covering the story from mahogany ridge".

Posted by: MarkC at June 18, 2007 12:10 AM

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/871589.html

Here's the link to today's editorial in Haaretz, which I only read after my first posting, showing that great minds think alike.

Posted by: MarkC at June 18, 2007 12:21 AM

I forgot... No British media cluster-F*ck is complete withourt a Royal angle, so....

Page 9: Prince Harry in Vader Costume Blunder:
As the world cowers in fear at the prospect of Alien Death Ray armed terrorists, Prince Harry today apologised for his "inappropriate" Darth Vader fancy dress outfit at last night's Upper Class Twit of the Year party.

But more seriously, anonymous "security sources" in things like DEBKA, getting their patchy information recycled as established fact by media who do not properly contextualise how random a source DEBKA is, is part of the problem (I don't mean on here, but in newspapers etc.) it becomes a sort of Chinese whispers with very high stakes.

Posted by: Microraptor at June 18, 2007 12:35 AM

I think the BBC's only heartfelt complaint at being compared to Der Sturmer would be that the German publication was relatively crude and unsophisticated. However, crude or not, the BBC has reveled in exactly the same kind of journalistic pogrom for many years. They are deeply vile people.

I'm sorry to say it, but the British people bear responsibility for this mess. As long as they mutely stand by and continue pay their license fees, as long as they continue to go along to get along, they share the blame for what the BBC is leading the country into.

Posted by: Neal at June 18, 2007 12:36 AM

> conciliation with the Abbas government.

Why is it that the more incompetent these people show themselves to be, the more we are expected to throw ourselves abjectly at their feet?

What has Abbas done to deserve conciliation?

On the contrary, Hamas is almost acting as Israel's military wing, if she has the intelligence to see it that way.

Under pressure from Hamas, and needing money, Abbas can now be pressured to actually implement some key roadmap provisions that can have a long term impact on this thing. Reorient the media and education systems to reflect the ultimate goal of making peace. Round up the Aksa Martyr's Brigades and actually charge them with serious crimes.

and many other things we'll never see. You're right that this is a moment of special opportunity, if only there is the wisdom available to exploit it.

Posted by: Adam D. at June 18, 2007 01:25 AM

What a brilliant parody.

It is isn't it?

"Revolting cesspool of bigotry," hilarious.

Hang on, you really mean it.

That the UK is the 'most anti Israel country in Europe' might come as a suprise to its own muslim population who perceive it as the one of the most anti Islamic countries in Europe.

But what the hell, the always ludicrous wafflings of Melanie Phillipps and a risibly predictable piece from Azure are evidence. So it must be true.

That the BBC should come in for criticism is hardly suprising either. In its history of public service journalism it always has.

Governments hate it, oppositions hate it. When you take up a position of impartiality you open yourself to all comers.

Maybe posters here would prefer the charismatic truth of an Anderson Cooper or the 'fair and balanced' coverage of Fox.

Sorry to hear you won't work for the BBC MJT. Broadcasting House must be crying at its loss.

Posted by: Derek at June 18, 2007 01:35 AM

That the UK is the 'most anti Israel country in Europe' might come as a surprise to its own Muslim population who perceive it as the one of the most anti Islamic countries in Europe.

Interesting assumption that it can't be both.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 18, 2007 02:00 AM

"On one level, having Hamastan helps Israel on the public opinion front. Every time one of those Mishuganahs appears on TV dancing on top of a desk or whatever, people around the world shudder."

When Gaza is relatively quiet, the world blames Israel for making peace with this peaceful people.

When Gaza fights, the world blames Israel for making these poor people fight.

What's the point of paying attention to world opinion?

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at June 18, 2007 03:34 AM

The UK is not the most anti-Semitic country in Europe (in fact it's probably one of the least racist countries). Don't judge the UK just on what you see on the BBC, which I agree is bastion of the anti-Zionist/anti-Semitic left.

"the always ludicrous wafflings of Melanie Phillipps [sic]"

Funny how I've never seen any specific criticism of Phillips's writings. The left/anti-Zionists try and dismiss her but they rarely can hold an argument with her.

"When you take up a position of impartiality you open yourself to all comers"

Now that's the funniest thing I've heard in a long time. Not even the BBC claims to be impartial these days, especially in the Middle East. They've explicitly stated Alan Johnson's mission was to push the Palestinian side.

And if they're so impartial, how come they suppressed a report into their balance? Organisations rarely suppress reports saying what a good job they're doing!

Posted by: Greg at June 18, 2007 04:03 AM

Michael Totten wrote:

We are not going to discuss the pros and cons of ethnic cleansing on this Web site.

I have two questions.

1)Do you consider what the United States did to Japan in WWII to be "ethnic cleansing"?

2)If the choice is to accept mass casualties here, in the US, or inflict mass casualties over there, say in Iran, what should the US do?

Posted by: Michael Smith at June 18, 2007 04:52 AM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 06/18/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

Posted by: David M at June 18, 2007 07:39 AM

Michael Smith:
What the United States did to Japanese Americans during WW II (removing any who lived on the West Coast to concentration camps) might be called ethnic cleansing. What we did to Japan itself, however -- no.

Posted by: wj at June 18, 2007 07:59 AM

Funny how I've never seen any specific criticism of Phillips's writings. The left/anti-Zionists try and dismiss her but they rarely can hold an argument with her.

That's a fact. The ad homimen-level criticism of her is a pretty good sign her childish critics haven't even read her. Just repeating the ad homs they hear from other people, who themselves haven't read her either. It's a sure sign she's touching a nerve. Notice how Ms. Phillips doesn't lower herself to their level though.

Posted by: Carlos at June 18, 2007 07:59 AM

Perhaps Sasha Cohen (Borat) owes American rednecks an apology...

Throw the Jew down the well
So my country will be free
You must grab him by his horns
Like they say on BBC.

It's hypocritical to dig into drunken bars to find hints of antisemitism in the US when it's blatantly shouted from the government radio and TV stations in his home country of England.

Posted by: Kent at June 18, 2007 08:01 AM

It's an opportunity....

It's a real opportunity, all right. For Abbas and friends to pad their already deep pockets, amass all kinds of new weapons with which to threaten Israel from the West Bank.

"Help us! We're killing each other (when we really should be killing Jews).... Because if you don't help us quickly, who knows what terrible catastrophe will occur to the already poor, oppressed, traumatized, brutalized Palestinian people?!!!"

And the violin plays on... And the help pours in.

Of course, if the West and Israel insist on sending millions of dollars and weapons to Abbas and the Palestinians, why shouldn't they accept? After all, wouldn't you?

Yes, another real opportunity....

Posted by: Barry Meislin at June 18, 2007 08:07 AM

The British media isn't anti-Jewish. They're just pro-Arab.

Posted by: Edgar at June 18, 2007 08:48 AM

mark,

I am not so sure.

fatah was fatally discredited even before gaza. now that it collapsed without a fight showed to be nothing but a racket of thugs. i don't believe the palestinians will ever trust them again.

neither do i believe that hamas will just sit in gaza and do nothing and iran and syria will help them. in fact they probably realize that if they stick to gaza chances are they'll be finished because the chances to fail there are almost 100%.
there is a real risk here that israel will do all the things you suggest and then hamas will do another gaza in the west bank, lethally exposing israel to yet another front.

olmert is desperate to rehabilitate himself and that is really dangerous because he is grasping at straws and acts on wishful thinking, not the reality.

and with the us checkmatted in the world, not much help will come from it.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 08:49 AM

"It's hypocritical to dig into drunken bars to find hints of antisemitism in the US when it's blatantly shouted from the government radio and TV stations in his home country of England."

Cohen is trying to make money. He is not an idealist or philosopher, he is a comedian.

You need targets to make fun of. You can only make fun of targets that do not react too negatively if you do. You need civilised targets. The US, with all its faults, is a civilised target. The UK, specifically large parts of its population, is not.

Can you imagine what would have happened to Cohen had he made fun of Saudi Arabia rather than Kazakhstan? (Did you hear that the government of Kazakhstan asked the country's chief rabbi, another Cohen, to defend the country, which he did? Is that a reaction anybody would expect from some of the really backwards countries out there?)

Yes, the BBC are the equivalent of drunks in an American bar. But did I know that before Borat showed the drunks to me? I did not.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at June 18, 2007 08:51 AM

neal,

speaking of the british people, look at what blair is doing to them: now that he's out, he tries to push the european constitution through the back door, without a referendum, together with sarkozy and merkel, and become the first fulltime eu president.

iow, europe will become even more undemocratic, with a huge layers of unelected bureacrats telling all countries what to do. and that layer is even more judeophobic than the british people.
they are the architects of eurabia.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 08:53 AM

"The British media isn't anti-Jewish. They're just pro-Arab."

In times of war support for the side that wants to eliminate a people means being against that people. If the BBC had supported the Nazis in WW2 I would have considered them anti-Jewish too, even if they were merely "pro-German".

I am not confortable with "pro-Arab" and "pro-German" meaning what you mean by the term though.

If killing Jews is an integral part of Arab and German culture, then supporting Arabs and Germans at a time when they are trying to kill Jews would indeed be "pro-Arab" and "pro-German".

But I wished "pro-Arab" and "pro-German" would mean support for learning the languages and the history rather than the current politics of the peoples in question during times when those politics are genocidal.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at June 18, 2007 08:54 AM

adam,

right, but given how he acted on gaza, do you honestly believe that he'll do that now? when he knows that the israelis and the west are desperate to throw money at him?

round up el aksa? you gotta be kidding. they will round up him.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 08:56 AM

"fatah was fatally discredited even before gaza. now that it collapsed without a fight showed to be nothing but a racket of thugs. i don't believe the palestinians will ever trust them again."

I wonder why the Arabs never ever vote for the third alternative. Why don't they vote for a party that advocates peace and doesn't support terrorists? Surely there must be one such party somewhere in the Arab world?

If all of Israel would fly the "Palestinian" (pan-Arab-based) flag tomorrow, the Arab nationalists and terrorists would kill all the Jews one day later.

If all Arabs of Palestine would fly the Israeli flag tomorrow, the war would be over the day after without any further casualties at all.

If they want peace, why don't they do it?

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at June 18, 2007 08:57 AM

derek,

impartial? wafflings? bollocks.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 08:58 AM

Has not Hamas declared that no one in Gaza is to wear ski masks unless shooting at Israel?

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,21919451-5005961,00.html

Would it be wrong for Israeli forces to presume that those throughout Gaza will comply with the decrees of their government?

Posted by: jim at June 18, 2007 09:00 AM

the notion that palestinians want peace is a shaky notion. had they wanted it, there would have come from among them a third alternative for them to choose. the fact that it has not indicates that such would not have a constituency; worse, they would probably be eliminated (happened with individuals here and there). even their intellectuals abroad have promoted the mythology and excused terrorism.

it's worse than that: the youth is indoctrinated with the mythology, hatred and the cult of death and it's been done to ensure that no leadership for peace can develop. iow the pals ensured themselves against peace even in the future.

that's why i keep saying that israel does not need recognition. they need an overhaul of the education system and 2-3 generations wait for it to take effect. anything else is grinding water.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 09:08 AM

according to the posts here israel is doing EVERYTHING upside down and backwards: propping a discredited, powerless abbas and succumbing to hamas provocations to get into the gaza disaster and reunify fatah and hamas against israel, now with the support of israel. unbelievable.

http://the-american-israeli-patriot.blogspot.com/

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 09:43 AM

> do you honestly believe that he'll do that now?

no I don't. I expect some number of Dubai based private equity firms to launch new investments in shipping, or some such.

Posted by: Adam D. at June 18, 2007 09:44 AM

Fitzgerald: A tribute to Ehud Olmert

http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/016988.php#more

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 09:49 AM

Mr. Brehm: I wonder why the Arabs never ever vote for the third alternative. Why don't they vote for a party that advocates peace and doesn't support terrorists?

I read through 6 or 7 quotes from 'typical' Palestinians on the BBC website on Friday. One interviewee (who was mysteriously not there the next day, the others remained) made a statement I'll have to paraphrase. It went something like we Palestinians always follow the strongest, whoever can provide his cup of flour. That to me explains why Hamas won out over Fatah who built all those exquisitely furnished modern facilities we just saw in the Gaza news videos, keeping the money at the top and not letting much trickle down. As Hamas increased the trickle ever so slightly they steered the herd toward them, and won them with superior 'strength.'

OT...just saw the two videos on Blacksmiths of Lebanon site. Recommended for any who want a 'street' view snippet of Hizballah.

Posted by: allan at June 18, 2007 10:01 AM

Fitzgerald: Boys, let's turn on the tap for Fatah

http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/016976.php#more

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 10:05 AM

http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/000867.html

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 10:17 AM

Israel is making not only the same mistake they did over and over after 1993 (continuing to put faith in Fatah in the hopes it will take on Hamas), but they are making again the cardinal mistake that started all of this mess -- and that was the rehabilitation of their defeated foe. Then it was Arafat's PLO, which was weaker than ever in the early 1990's sitting a thousand miles away in Tunis. Now it's Fatah, weaker than ever again.

It might sound crazy, but I think Israel needs to start back from square one. Re-occupy Gaza. Kill and jail the Hamas and IJ and then go after al-Aksa Brigades in the West Bank, as well as Hamas and IJ. In a couple of years, when things calm down, allow the Palestinians to elect locals and consider what to do with the status of the territories. But working with Fatah is a dead end. They can't deliver. They won't deliver. They don't want to deliver. And by deliver I mean make a final status peace deal with Israel.

Posted by: Zak at June 18, 2007 12:12 PM

it's very hard to envision such a policy by israel now.

there is reference to the 3% support that olmert has. but if, under these circumstances, and given the idiocy of his behavior since the war israelis have not gotten rid of him, this can only mean they belabor under the same wishful thinking as he does, or they don't see a better alternative.
in either case it is extremely dangerous and i can start to see what ahmadinajad means when he says israel will soon disappear.

it's not that its enemies win, it's that israel is committing suicide.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 12:25 PM

Out of interest, can anyone compile for me the top five most pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic, genocidal reports made by Alan Johnston in the past few years?

It seems to me that many of the posters here are so partisan (as is their right, it's a free Net) that merely not being as pro-Israeli as they are, means you must be anti-Israeli, which is now clearly short-hand for anti-Semitic, which means you must therefore advocate a genocide of all Jews everywhere.

So, this being the case, can I have the list of Mr. Johnston's top five reports that fit this category?

Lilmamzer?

FP? (you are so good at finding links)

Neal? (liked the "pogrom" angle, mate)

Carlos?

Up and at 'em lads.... his top 5....

PS. Writing things like "...his failure to describe any attack on Israelis as Genocide" won't wash. I don't think even most of the Israeli media uses the term with as much reckless abandon as it is bandied about on this website....

Posted by: Microraptor at June 18, 2007 01:40 PM

raptor,

my comments are critical of israel. but that's beside the point. if you deem positions here pro-israel, then demonstrate they are wrong on their facts and reasoning, otherwise you're grinding water.

when israel is singled out for defending itself and held to absurd standards while murderous thugs all over the ME and arab world are ignored, that IS anti-semitism. if you don't understand that, you don't have a clue.

i am not aware of such claims made about johnston.
what he did do is take a position sympathetic to the pals without any balance or criticism. and when you do that you help their cause and the methods they employ for it.

let me turn that around: if you think that this is untrue then provide any writings which disprove it.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 02:07 PM

Microraptor:
Out of interest, can anyone compile for me the top five most pro-terrorist, anti-Semitic, genocidal reports made by Alan Johnston in the past few years?

What's your point? A back-door legitimization of the BBC?

That's just not going to happen.

You've clearly missed my point altogether.

If I were a journalist, I wouldn't accept a job from, say, the Saudi-government sponsored Arab News, because it would be both immoral and unethical.

The analogy holds for Alan Johnston and the BBC. Except that he freely chose to make his career there. And that's enough for me.
------------------------

Oh yeah, Microraptor, you wrote this about me in a previous post above:

He should have known better?! WTF... Lilmamzer, you are writing things that make you look a c*nt of the highest order.

Yes, Johnston should have known better. What on earth do you think Hamas, Fatah, and any of the other Palestinian Arab "resistance" gangs are, anyway? They control Gaza. They are the police, the judge, the jury, and, as we all know, the executioners. Just keep reminding yourself, Microraptor, that they are GENOCIDAL and are proud of it. Who do you think Johnston thought he was dealing with?

And thanks for calling me the 'c' word. Very civil of you.

Posted by: Lil Mamzer at June 18, 2007 02:19 PM

btw,

the fact that kill jews one by one does not mean that they are not genocidal. the only reason they don't kill all of them is because they can't. and not for lack of trying for over 40 years.

a journalist operating in the territories who is unaware of that and who writes without putting things in context is a hack. he does not have to say they are genocidal, he can be more balanced and critical and skeptical.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 02:28 PM

Apologies for "C word" 'Mamzer.... but I just found the casual "I don't lose sleep over Johnston's predicament (apx)...' comment really distasteful...

I think anyone who kidnaps journalists is an enemy of anyone who values free speech... simple as that. If someone kidnapped the likes of,say, Melanie Phillips because of something she wrote, I would find it abhorent, even if I also didn't like what she wrote.

OK... so let's look at the Insurgents in Iraq. A great deal of them clearly want to kill any Americans they come across in Iraq, but how come you guys don't generally refer to that as genocidal? Isn't what AQ do to Shi'a Moslems a form of Genocide (trying to eliminate all people who were born a certain way because they were born a certain way?)

Do you think that Hamas would want to eliminate all Jews everywhere -- or just Israeli Jews living in what they regard as Palestine? Do you think that they hate Jews for being Jewish, wherever they are in the world?

And Mamzer.... Just because you write something in CAPITALS DOESN'T ACTUALLY MAKE IT AN ARGUMENT... IT JUST LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE YELLING.... AND YELLING AT PEOPLE IS A WAY OF TRYING TO STIFLE DEBATE AND DROWN OUT ALTERNATIVE VIEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's a Megaphone, like the GIYUS tool.... see?

Posted by: Microraptor at June 18, 2007 02:58 PM

raptor,

and you want to be taken seriously after that question?

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 03:00 PM

i suggest you do some reading of what the quran says about jews, then read the hamas covenant.

just curious: because they want to kill all the jews in israel they're not genocidal?

and you had the nerve to call somebody else cunt?

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 03:06 PM

Microraptor:

Isn't what AQ do to Shi'a Moslems a form of Genocide

It's not clear to me that it is genocide. Let MJT tackle that one. You seem to choke on accepting the fact of Hamas' genocidal nature. They codify it in their charter, and then put it into practice every day. I won't even link it for you. You have to look it up for yourself.
------------------

Do you think that Hamas would want to eliminate all Jews everywhere

Yes, of course. They have said very clearly that their goal is to spread (radical, extreme Islam) around the world. We won't fall for that "just let them have Poland" routine anymore.
------------------

YELLING AT PEOPLE IS A WAY OF TRYING TO STIFLE DEBATE AND DROWN OUT ALTERNATIVE VIEWS!!!!!!!

Don't accuse me of trying to stifle debate, dude. I always answer you point by point. And CHILL.
-----------------

I just found the casual "I don't lose sleep over Johnston's predicament (apx)...' comment really distasteful..

I'm not trying to offend anyone's sensibilities, but Johnston and the BBC offend mine more than you can imagine. I didn't wish his predicament on him, but my heart goes out far more to the citizens of Sderot than for Alan Johnston. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Lil Mamzer at June 18, 2007 03:15 PM
Do you think that Hamas would want to eliminate all Jews everywhere -- or just Israeli Jews living in what they regard as Palestine?

'Just'?

Posted by: MattW at June 18, 2007 03:48 PM

matt,

that 'just' says it all doesn't it?

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 03:53 PM

fp:

that 'just' says it all doesn't it?

C'mon, give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Because if they only slaughter the Jews of Israel, then we can be happy knowing it was only 'resistance' after all.

Posted by: Lil Mamzer at June 18, 2007 03:57 PM

Do you think that Hamas would want to eliminate all Jews everywhere -- or just Israeli Jews living in what they regard as Palestine? Do you think that they hate Jews for being Jewish, wherever they are in the world?

Oh c'mon Raptor, just read the Hamas covenant. It's so vile it almost makes Mein Kamp seem reasonable!

The Hamas are genocidal maniacs of the first order. Look what just happened to the handful of Arab-Christians remaining in Gaza!!!

If Hamas had the power to destroy Israel, they would--without a doubt. If they had the ability to hunt down the rest of the Jews in this world ... well, go read their charter and that part about some tree telling Muslims on the day of Judgement that there is a Jew hiding behind it, come and slay him.

Sheesh.

Posted by: Zak at June 18, 2007 04:14 PM

he deserves no benefit because he is the one who is so certain of himself that he insults others as cunts.

he is also the one who does not seem to understand what anti-semitism is and complains about invocation of such.

in his mind that hamas wants to exterminate all the jews from israel (not to mention spreading jihad globally) is not genocidal, just resistance. iow, exterminating your enemy falls short of genocide. that 'just' was a rather freudian slip.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 04:15 PM

"Do you think that Hamas would want to eliminate all Jews everywhere -- or just Israeli Jews living in what they regard as Palestine? Do you think that they hate Jews for being Jewish, wherever they are in the world?"

Sheikh Yassin (Hamas' deceased "spiritual leader") gave an interview just before he died in which he said that Hamas' battle wasn't neither just for a state nor just with Israel. He said, and I admit that this sound's like cartoon villain nonsense - but he did say it - that Hamas will fight (as best as I can remeber his words) "not just for the creation of a Palastinian state, and not just until the liberation of all Palestine, but until the black flag of Islam flies over the entire universe!"

Did you catch that? If we find life on Mars, then Hamas will dispatch suicide bombers to claim them for Islam, eventually.

But it's Hezbollah's leader who has proclaimed that it's a good thing the world's Jews have gathered in Israel so that they can all be exterminated at once.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 18, 2007 04:32 PM

eek, not "wasn't neither," "was neither."

Also, Sheikh Yassin really did use the word "universe". Just invading the planet isn't enough for Hamas in his estimation.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at June 18, 2007 04:34 PM

josh,

you don't understand. to kill all jews in israel is resistance. to defend israel from that is genocide.

don't you get it? it's so damn obvious.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 04:54 PM

well, i guess israel sent yassin in the universe, so he's building an islamic state there.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 04:56 PM

OK... so let's look at the Insurgents in Iraq. A great deal of them clearly want to kill any Americans they come across in Iraq, but how come you guys don't generally refer to that as genocidal? Isn't what AQ do to Shi'a Moslems a form of Genocide (trying to eliminate all people who were born a certain way because they were born a certain way?)

Yes. Hamas and the 'insurgents' are Islamists. Islamism, the philosophy that motivates Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Pakistan, CAIR and George Galloway is a politically-oriented supremacist movement that does, like most supremacist movements, lean towards genocide.

Saudi and Iranian-funded terrorists have been targeting Jews for decades, but they've also been targeting Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and Atheists for decades. The BBC, CNN and Reuters all define this war against the world's unarmed civilians as 'resistance', proving that divided we fall.

Posted by: mary at June 18, 2007 06:17 PM

Why is it that the BBC gets a pass for being a propoganda arm of the Arabs, but Joseph Goebbels is a war criminal?

Is it simply because the Germans were more successful?

Posted by: Kenneth at June 18, 2007 06:28 PM

enjoy

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=25902_Six_of_One...&only

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 07:12 PM

Just to spell it out for you microraptor - from the Hamas covenant:

Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"

"Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and God's victory is realised."

Article 7: ... the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of God's promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, God bless him and grant him salvation, has said: "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O slaves of God, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharqad tree would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews."

From Sohab Alissa, the director of Hamas Children’s Summer Camp:
The first thing we want to teach them is their cause. They know from daily experience that their enemy is the Jew — our job is to explain why. In the Koran much is said about the bad behavior of the Jew. Some teachings say God cursed the Jews”

And from the Hamas newspaper Al-Risalah, April 23, 2007
"... the extermination of Jews is good for the inhabitants of the worlds on a land, to which Allah gave his blessing for the sake of the inhabitants of the worlds.”

I could go on... and on and on... but somehow i don't think I'd ever convince you...

Posted by: mertel at June 18, 2007 08:07 PM

I think that if Microrapter accepted the fact that Hamas wants to kill all Jews -- not just Israelis -- he would still care little about the threat. In his mind a relatively small organization like Hamas doesn't have the capability to follow through with their threats abroad, although it abudantly clear that if they had the capabillity, they would PREFER to go after Jews anywhere if they could. True, even if Hamas realized their dream of destroy Israel, they still probably couldn't kill the rest of us in the diaspora. But that is a moot point because whether they can attain their genocidal goals or not, the salient point is that it's the THOUGHT THAT COUNTS. And that is what puts them in a whole other league.

The lies that the Arab/Muslim fanatics hate only Israelis has, in any event, been proven to be a lie countless times when we remember the massacres of Jews by Muslims in Turkey, the attempted destruction of a synagogue in Jerba, Tunisia, France and of course the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. And of course it's a sad commentary that the German government not too long ago suggested Jews not wear kipot or stars of David 'round their necks.

I suppose it's pretty easy to be flippant for somebody like Microrapter, but I won't soon forget the vandalism that struck Jewish institutions here in Milwaukee shortly after 2000, where I live, nor the urine that was thrown on our pro-Israel office door at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Yom Hashoah, nor the sign outside of the General Union of Palestinian students office door at the University that read: A note to all you kikes who vandalize our door. Do it again and we'll throw you into the gas chambers that you crawled out of. I also won't soon forget the terrorist cell that was busted in Illinois that had a professed goal of killing American Jews (one of the members of said groups "honor" killing of his young daughter finally brought justice to this weapons hording group (the killing of their daughter was recorded, thanks to FBI bugs in the home, which the ACLU no doubt is appalled by).

Again, do these barbaric atavist have the capability to kill all of us American Jews -- no. But again, it's the thought that counts. And it's very easy for somebody like Micrapter to poo-poo such threats because I guess the real crim is a security fence that has saved hundreds of Israeli lives, the "humiliating" checkBoints.

Oh, and once when I attended a Israeli Independence day celebration, a non-Jewish friend of mine who was hovering around the Arabs protesting our event apparently saw an Arab -- whose name I remember -- Rami Abdul Jaber --pointed at me and my friend saing he would "kill those Jews."

Ineed, one of the reasons I became so interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict was because I was identified as a Jew in high school by my appearance by a couple of Arabs who proceeded to call me names and intimidate me. And once they chased me through a couple of backyards until I lost them, simply because they spotted me and I was alone and they were five in number. I shutter to think about what would have happened to me had they caught me, especially in light of their penchant for lynching helpless people.

So, Microrapter, play your stupid freakin' moral equivilency academic exercises. Have fun with it. Score a point here or there. But for a fair number of American Jews, the shits real.

And then there was the shooting rampage at the Seattle Jewish Center ... and what about the van of orthodox Jews shot up by some Lebanese dude in New York years ago. The list goes on, you prick.

The Nazis said a whole lot of stuff that seemed almost laughable at one time, but it wasn't so funny ten years later.

You may consider the Arabs to be children who talk a lot of crap (although you seem to even doubt that much), but most of us Jews don't have that luxury.

And finally, when I worked for two years at the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, it wasn't so cool when we started having to take serious security precautions about admitting people in to our building after 2000.

I generally try to refrain from name calling, but in this case Microraptor seems wildly in appropriate. How about Macroasshole?

Posted by: Zak at June 18, 2007 09:05 PM

attaboy, zak. good for you. but you're right: despite his smugness he does not have a clue.

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 09:26 PM

let's see, phillips is waffling right-winger, the bbc is impartial, now let's see all those who claim this shit rebut this:

http://www.melaniephillips.com/diary/?p=1555

wanna try your hand, raptor?

Posted by: fp at June 18, 2007 09:56 PM

"that 'just' says it all doesn't it?"

Not only about Microraptor, but about the whole stinking cesspool the traditional media have become. The BBC may be the worst, but Reuters, AP and the NY and LA Times are not far behind. They serve little purpose any longer except to epitomize intellectual and moral bankruptcy.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at June 18, 2007 11:51 PM

Well let's see.

Melanie Phillips believes evolution is merely a theory. That global warming is pure alarmism. She opposes gay partnerships.

She seems to epitomize the 'intellectual and moral bankruptcy' of most neocons.

Posted by: Derek at June 19, 2007 12:58 AM

"Melanie Phillips believes evolution is merely a theory. That global warming is pure alarmism. She opposes gay partnerships."

Well, evolution is a theory; I have not seen many compelling arguments that global warming is really caused by pollution, and I have no problems with people disagreeing with me or anybody about social issues.

Posted by: Andrew Brehm at June 19, 2007 01:39 AM

Face it. The truth really does suck.

And there are varying ways of dealing with that reality.

And "enemy of the people" is a concept that's alive and well.

And the denial, scapegoating and rationalizations have reached tsunami-like proportions.

And all the lovers of humanity, truth and progress (and easy answers?) agree.

But the real truth eventually does emerges. Sooner or later. Usually after a lot of deceit, illusion, fabrication---and the death and destruction that result.

Been there, done that. And it looks like we're going down that road again (having mastered the lessons of history so very well?)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at June 19, 2007 02:05 AM

....follow the trail of the money.....and stop it.....In Gaza people have money for guns yet they still need money for food, medicine........peculiar priorities........

Posted by: diana at June 19, 2007 05:10 AM

Oh, come on guys, lighten up on microraptor. From what I understood, his point was that Hamas, like Al Quada, will kill anyone that stands in the way of their goals, but that genocide for its own sake is not central to their ideology, as it was for the nazis. I think the citation to the Hamas charter proves him wrong, but I don't think it makes him an apologist for genocide, or for the the anti-semitic incidents alluded to in Zak's rather bizarre rant.

Posted by: MarkC at June 19, 2007 05:55 AM

A must read article in the NYT by Fouad Ajami

It isn’t a pretty choice, that between Hamas and Fatah. Indeed, it was the reign of plunder and arrogance that Fatah imposed during its years of primacy that gave Hamas its power and room for maneuver. We must not overdo the distinction between the “secularism” of Fatah and the Islamism of Hamas. In the cruel streets and refugee camps of the Palestinians, this is really a distinction without a difference.

It is idle to think that Gaza could be written off as a Hamas dominion while Fatah held its own in the towns of the West Bank. The abdication and the anarchy have damaged both Palestinian realms. Nablus in the West Bank is no more amenable to reason than is Gaza; the writ of the pitiless preachers and gunmen is the norm in both places.

There is no way that a normal world could be had in the West Bank while Gaza goes under. There is no magic wand with which this Palestinian world could be healed and taught the virtues of realism and sobriety. No international peacekeeping force can bring order to the deadly streets and alleyways of Gaza. A population armed to the teeth and long in the throes of disorder can’t be pacified by outsiders.

For decades, Arab society granted the Palestinians everything and nothing at the same time. The Arab states built worlds of their own, had their own priorities, dreaded and loathed the Palestinians as outsiders and agitators, but left them to the illusion that Palestine was an all-consuming Arab concern.

Now the Palestinians should know better. The center of Arab politics has shifted from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, a great political windfall has come to the lands of the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, vast new wealth due to the recent rises in oil prices, while misery overwhelms the Palestinians. No Arabs wait for Palestine anymore; they have left the Palestinians to the ruin of their own history.

Posted by: mertel at June 19, 2007 06:41 AM

The Ajami article is eloquent, but long on rhetoric and short on facts. Here is a better one:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/872647.html

In short, the situation is not hopeless. A public opinion poll shows twice as many Palestinians supporting Fatah than Hamas, with over 40% undecided. Time to swing into action. Nothing's for certain, but the west could score some points here.

Posted by: MarkC at June 19, 2007 08:50 AM

mark,

ajami has always been low on facts and he is unevenly eloquent.

i would not attach too much importance to palestinian polls. their public opinion is notriosuly fickle, based on whatever happens at a particular moment. and give enough money and time to fatah and they'll squander any support they have. not to mention the fact that they have no control on their various groups of thugs.

the difference between fatah and hamas is one of tactics, not strategic. they just want the jiziya to continue and to use whatever state they get as a basis for military and demographic jihad. these things are only good to fool the west.

Posted by: fp at June 19, 2007 09:04 AM

here's a report the bbc did not manage to bury:

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/872647.html

Posted by: fp at June 19, 2007 09:05 AM

derek,

do you think there is a particular reason why you brought evolution,global warming and gay marriage to dismiss Phillips, when none of these issues are relevant to this thread? i have a pretty good idea: that you cannot rebut her writings on the relevant topic.

Posted by: fp at June 19, 2007 09:12 AM

Who is this Noah Pollack and why does he hate Palestinians so? Why is the only good Palestinian the one who is prone on his back, crying 'uncle' and ready to sell out his heritage?

Posted by: The Other Alan at June 19, 2007 11:12 AM

what heritage? the one they display in gaza?

Posted by: fp at June 19, 2007 11:29 AM

We are not going to discuss the pros and cons of ethnic cleansing on this Web site.

All comments advocating it will be deleted. Fair enough. Just curious -- is it permissible to argue here that the partition of India (which, as you know, included rather a lot of what could be characterized, albeit gently, as "ethnic cleansing" -- which was not only predictable, but predicted) into India and a bifurcated Pakistan was, all in all, not the worst possible idea and possibly, even, a good thing on balance?

I'm not sure, by the way, that I think it was a good idea, mind you, or whether it ought or ought not be undone by an Indian conquest of Pakistan . . . I'm just asking if it's permissible to argue, here, that it was.

Posted by: Joel (No c) Rosenberg at June 19, 2007 11:40 AM

OT, Melanie Phillips is right, man-made global warming is not only alarmist hysteria, but pure hucksterism.

Posted by: Carlos at June 19, 2007 01:15 PM

here's an audio of ehud yaari's analysis of the situation in gaza and west-bank.

http://www.conferenceofpresidents.org/meetings.asp?ArtCat=1&ArtID=31

Posted by: fp at June 19, 2007 02:32 PM

Look, bottom line is this: If an ethnic person has filthy hair, smelly armpits and dirt smeared all over his face, then clearly this ethnic person must be cleansed. In fact, it would be doing him a favor. If talking about such things will get this post deleted, so be it.

/tongue in cheek

Posted by: Zak at June 19, 2007 02:35 PM

Zak at June 18, 2007 04:14 PM: If Hamas had the power to destroy Israel, they would--without a doubt. If they had the ability to hunt down the rest of the Jews in this world ... well, go read their charter and that part about some tree telling Muslims on the day of Judgement that there is a Jew hiding behind it, come and slay him.

Standard rejoinder of the 'poleznye idioty': They don't really mean that. It's just rhetoric to score cheap political points.

This is the problem. Surely in our modern world of progress and enlightenment there could be no one that would actually believe such idiocy, is the belief. Obviously such statements are a negotiating tactic. Rhetoric. An opener. A rhetorical gambit to strengthen their hand in the forthcoming, inevitable dialog.

It is not conceivable to the individual locked in this memetic framework that the charter of Hamas is literal. That someone could actually believe in the goal of 'wiping out the Jew'.

Brush such observations aside as extremist idiocy; the reactionism of a stooge who wants to induce class control over the people utilizing the rhetorical tactic of genocide. Obviously the people utilizing this tactic are desperate, not actually, well, you know, Genocidal. Further, paint those who do take the rhetoric literally as lunatics. ‘Neocons’. Use labeling to wrap them into easily disposable, ignorant, non-entities.

And what remains?

Bread and Circuses to appease the alarmist, reactionary masses. Rome is not burning, it is simply very warm.

Enjoy the ride.

Posted by: Michael in Seattle at June 19, 2007 02:46 PM

but the reality is that this a very effective strategy, because it is based on the ignorance and gullibility of the west. i mean, within 40 years this policy has succeeded in imposing a factually false mythology on the west and reversing the support that israel had in the world. scare them shitless with terror and then show yourself as "moderate" while you give the real intentions to your own people, knowing that the west will ignore it.

the fact is that the west IS decadent, weak, and appeasing and will swallow everything is being fed, deluding itself that it'll get stability.

Posted by: fp at June 19, 2007 02:57 PM

The US and the West (EU & UN & UK) should support neither Hamas NOR Fatah -- just Palestinian people and non-gov't organizations.

The only offer of cash should be: cash for guns.
The main offer should be an offer of a job. Cleaning streets, building houses, building furniture or making clothes; or selling stuff in peaceful markets.

The stupid post WW II mistake in Palestine and all post-colonial places is the idea that the people need "better" gov't. Which always leads to more gov't.

What they need is better civil society, based on cooperation and agreement.

They need thousands of micro-finance loans (w/ Islamic finance, so add 10%/year to the loan in repayment of USD by EURO), to Arabs willing to try to start small companies. And those which are successful to get more loans.

Splitting Gaza from WB might not be so bad; and splitting the WB into more cantons might even be better. More local rulers of small corruption, dependent on keeping powerful locals happy.

Israel should also be replying with proportionate force -- missile for missile, bomb for bomb. Aimed at the leaders. Until such leaders sign peace agreements.

(The US should be switching its Egypt aid into microfinance loans, as well...)

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at June 19, 2007 03:52 PM

tom,

hamas and fatah ARE the plaestinian people. and the people don't want peace or a state, they want to eliminate israel, many because they have been indoctrinated with it. there are exceptions but they are not the rule.

everytime they fucked up, the west has not only not withdrawn support, but has actually rewarded them. so they do what pays: fuck up.

nobody's gonna split anything. carter is already talking about working to put hamas and fatah together again and so is hamas. and i am willing to bet that nobody's gonna let hamas fail. they'll find some reason to rescue it. just watch.

the problem is the west is being played for the fool it is and it works.

the microfinance is just sheer silly. you have no idea what you're talking about.

Posted by: fp at June 19, 2007 04:15 PM

The only way out is to provide an antidote for the power-ups that the keep getting thrown at Hamas (and Fatah) that keep this sick game going: total rout and total defeat of the enemy. That is something that Israel has been denied (and denies to herself) but is the only way to end this war.

Posted by: Lil Mamzer at June 19, 2007 04:25 PM

Too bad this is turning into an FP comments section again. I was hoping that his promise to go away was sincere. Nice language FP, though it does match your attitude.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at June 19, 2007 05:03 PM

what's the matter, ron, can't you handle it?

if you're not interested in what i have to say, does it mean i should go away?

tut, tut, tut. the language offends you? how sensitive.

Posted by: fp at June 19, 2007 05:43 PM

so if you're not interested in what i have to say, i should go away?

everybody here can post as much as they like and ignore anything they want. what's your problem?

tut, tut, tut. the language offends you? how sensitive.

Posted by: fp at June 19, 2007 05:46 PM

FP,

There are lots of people who leave comments here with whom I disagree vehemently. You're the only one, though, that says the same thing over and over and over again in such volume. If you were to post about 1/10 as often, reading MJT's comment section would be a much more pleasant experience.

If you feel like you have so much to say, please say it on your own blog. If your comments here are trenchant enough, they'll serve as teasers and you'll attract an audience.

I'm grateful for the time that MJT spends moderating this comments section. The quality of the average post is pretty high thanks to his efforts. The average quality would be a lot higher, though, if you were to condense your many contributions down into a few solid, memorable nuggets.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at June 19, 2007 06:37 PM

ah, yes, creamy. who else. the real trenchant poster. why i'm not surprised?

Posted by: fp at June 19, 2007 07:19 PM

fp may post a bit too much, but he is very well thought out and provides relevant links to back up his claims. I read this site to gain insight and he does a good job of providing a certain point of view. Keep up the good work fp.

Posted by: Kenneth at June 19, 2007 07:35 PM

kenneth,

hat tip.

hard to resist responding when knowledge and reason are lacking.

Posted by: fp at June 19, 2007 08:04 PM

Thank you so much, Derek, for going out of your way to prove my point by equating Phillips' skepticism of evolution and even global warming with Microraptor's whitewashing of Hamas' clearly stated genocidal intentions. "Moral bankruptcy" may be too generous, since it implies there was moral capital to begin with.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at June 19, 2007 09:46 PM

Some of you are nuts... You extrapolate things that are simply not said, then argue yourselves into ever more frothy mouthed fits of pique.

I never justified anything by Hamas at any point, what I meant by 'just Jews in Israel?' doesn't mean I think it's a good idea -- but was a question as to whether they are anti Jewish per se, or just anti Israeli. At no point did I say it was a good idea or excuse it one way or another. It was just a question... are they genocidal like Nazis or would their anti Jewish violence would somehow stop if they got the outcome they want in the Middle East. Quoting the Hamas charter was informative and answers my question.... going loopy is just pointless and irrelevent.

Also, I apologised for using bad language in relation to Lil'Mamzer... I am sorry for it, but there you go.

As for Zak's strange rant, I am sorry about your childhood playground experiences in America or your college day run ins with Palestinians. How horrible and scary it must have been at the time, but no harm done, eh, Zak?

I'd like to share another childhood story.... My grandfather, Mr Zak, was a very fortunate man. As a kid in the 1930s he left Gemany when his parents sent him on something called the Kindertransport, which was how he came to the UK. That is how he survived the Second World War.

Lucky for him, Zak, because many of his family who stayed were rounded up, sent to the camps, gassed and carbonised. Their ashes floated down over the forests of southern Poland.... along with those of about six million of their co-religionists.

So Zak, you see, you don't know me, you don't know anything about me... and do not presume too much.

Too many people on this site seem to think if you do not think exactly as they do, then you must - by default - think exactly as their enemies do. But actually that's not how the world works.

Posted by: Microraptor at June 20, 2007 02:22 PM

Microraptor, thanks for your post. Intelligent, civil and informative.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at June 21, 2007 04:26 PM

Yes, Microraptor is so civil. He finds the information about Hamas' charter which unmistakably delineates their genocidal intentions "informative", but he can't quite muster up the same outrage against them that he does against, say, Melanie Phillips. I guess that wouldn't be "civil".

Posted by: Gary Rosen at June 21, 2007 10:17 PM

Gary, my comment was specifically in response to his latest post, not to his previous comments, world view or philosophical grounding.

In my opinion too many of the posts on MJT's blog are now of the "if you do not agree with me you are stupid" variety that is a hallmark of, well lesser quality blogs. It may be considered advantage to have a blog entry with 200+ comments, even though so many of the are IMO of no value, or transparently self-serving to the person posting the comment -I do not agree.

This blog's reporting (for lack of a more precise term) is great, even exceptional; the blog comments have become much more partisan, acrimonous and judgemental in the last few months.

Check out the comments on Yon's blog, or Victor Davis Hanson. There may only be five, twenty or fifty comments, but they tend to be well worth reading.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at June 22, 2007 03:13 AM

The idea that microraptor's comments aren't partisan, but others here are is ludicrous. The idea that the comments here are not worth reading is, well, "acrimonious and judgemental" to those "partisans" that make them.

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Posted by: viccol at June 23, 2007 02:34 AM

Just for the hell of it, and in case anybody goes back to this now old thread again, I want to correct something I said in an earlier post. Up til a couple of days ago, I believed that Daniel Pearl had been seized from within a busy coffee shop where he had gone to interview some dodgy, terrorism-related charecters. This made the whole thing especially disturbing because, aside from going into the coffee shop with armed body guards, Pearl had acted sensibly -- and still gotten in deep trouble.

Anyway, with the publicity around the debut of the movie A Mighty Heart, a piece of videotape has surfaced which seems to really be an interview (see how steeped in skeptism I am) with this guy named Bennet who was some CIA biggie in Pakistan while Pearl was there. He says (and maybe this is somewhere in the book A Mighty Heart as well) that Pearl ended up going out to a madrassa to interview the guy, from which, of course, he was easily overpowered.

Well, er, I found that interesting...

Posted by: stephanie at June 26, 2007 12:58 PM
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