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August 3, 2008: Where to Start?

August 3, 2008

I confess: I feel so inundated with evidence of official stupidity — including some very dangerous stupidity — on both sides of the Atlantic that it’s hard to know what to kick off with.


Let me start with reference to a stunning report by key US anti-terrorist Steve Emerson, founder and executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism:

In spite of attempts by Islamic organizations to block him, Emerson testified last Thursday before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.

His message was that Congress must investigate collaboration that the State Department has initiated with “many radical Islamist organizations and individuals in its attempts to engage in outreach to the American Muslim community at large.”

Emerson testified that while the outreach to the Muslim community by the State Department “is an honorable and worthwhile pursuit, the State Department has conducted outreach to the wrong groups, sending a terrible message to moderate Muslims who are thoroughly disenfranchised by the funding, hosting and embracing of radical groups that purport to be opposed to terrorism and extremism.” 

The State Department has cooperated with and done funding of groups that have links to Al Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah, thereby helping “to support an ideology that focuses on eliminating secular Western powers and promoting their stringent ideas of Sharia law…

“This approach…will help to aggrandize fundamentalist theology worldwide. The focus of the State Department’s funding should promote genuinely moderate voices within the Muslim community, rather than reaching out to those who justify violence, support designated terrorist groups, and promote the funding and support of jihadist ideology globally.”

You can read his full testimony here: 


Americans, wake up!  Make your voices heard on this, loud and clear.


The other part of this story, however, involves someone with courage who has his head screwed on exactly right.  I refer to the chair of the Subcommittee before which Steve Emerson testified:

Congressman Brad Sherman (D- CA 27th –San Fernando Valley).  Congressman Sherman had to stand strong against a great deal of pressure from Arab lobbies in order to make certain that Emerson would testify; this effort serves the nation well.  He needs to hear words of support and gratitude now, needs to know that his effort is recognized and appreciated.   If you are an American citizen, please let him hear from you:

In Washington DC:  tel. (202) 225-5911 and fax (202) 225-5879

In Sherman Oaks, CA:  tel. 818) 501-9200 and fax (818) 501-1554

Please pass this to others on your list as well.


I wrote the other day about the report by Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin saying that since the period of quiet known as the tahadiyah was established between Hamas and Gaza in late June, the smuggling from the Sinai has not stopped, with some four tons of explosives, 50 anti-tank missiles and dozens of light arms having been smuggled into Gaza.

Well, today, in the course of some research I’m doing for a writing project, I happened upon a statement from a site called globalsecurity.org.  Seems that on June 19, when the ceasefire had just begun, Mark Regev, who serves as the spokesman for the prime minister, said the following:

“If we see Hamas using this period of quiet just to rearm and regroup, all bets are off.  There will not be an understanding.”

Israeli citizens, please:  Contact Mark. Quote his words back to him. Provide information on what has been smuggled in since the tahadiyah, and ask him when you can expect the prime minister to call it quits with regard to the current “understanding” with Hamas.

tel. (02)670-5354   fax (02) 670-5394  Faxing when possible is good.


Credible reports are mounting regarding the possibility of anti-aircraft weaponry from Syria being passed to Hezbollah.  On Friday, an article by Alex Fishman in Yediot Ahronot analyzed the significance and dangers inherent in this possibility:

Monitoring of Hezbollah activity — which in the main must be done from the sky — is exceedingly important for securing information about the highly secretive building of Hezbollah’s forces, for monitoring of  particular individuals, and for preparing lists of targets.  Intelligence must be very tight. It would represent a major blow to Israel’s ability to function if planes doing surveillance were at risk of being shot down..

Additionally, any government, cabinet or general staff that had to approve an activity in Lebanon that required air cover – such as an incursion, targeted killing, kidnapping or retrieval – might hesitate to take the risk.


While this is looming before us with immediacy, our prime minister (and yes, unfortunately, he is still our prime minister) speaks positively about Syria and the possibility of successful peace negotiations.  Fishman challenges Israel to start to think seriously about the issues:

Is Syria being warned of the consequences of supplying this weaponry to Hezbollah?  Should Israel sit and wait until the first such systems are actually in Lebanon?  What if a missile downs an unmanned craft?

For an English translation of the original Hebrew article: http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=40146


In any event, the notion of achieving peace with Syria — with Olmert promoting the notion that Syria would abandon ties with Iran to achieve this — is simply more official nonsense.  This weekend Syria’s Bashar Assad visited Iran, and the guessing is that the purpose was to strengthen Syrian-Iranian ties.

SANA, Syria’s official news agency, reported that a major purpose of the visit was “to consult on the nuclear issue and the right of states to peaceful enrichment.”   It declared that the two countries shared “identical views” on “major regional and international” issues, and rejected  “foreign dictates.”


Major Palestinian happenings — violent and convoluted: 

For five days, Hamas gunmen (aka security forces) had surrounded the homes of members of the Fatah-affiliated Hilles clan located in the Shajayieh neighborhood of Gaza City, whom they claimed were responsible for the explosion that had taken the lives of five Hamas men and a young girl some days before.

The clan, however, violently resisted any attempt by Hamas to enter their area.  Ultimately nine Palestinians were killed and more than 90 wounded in fighting yesterday.


Last night, after the clan had surrendered, 188 Palestinians approached the border with Israel near Nachal Oz, threw down their guns and asked to be permitted to cross over.  According to military sources, permission was given (by Defense Minister Barak) out of “humanitarian concern” that these people might be slaughtered. Those who were wounded were taken to Israeli hospitals.

The comment of a friend of mine: “We are out of our minds.” 

Although the humanitarian instincts of the Israeli military are being celebrated, and it has been pointed out that when Arabs pursue Arabs with murderous intent, those on the losing side more than once have sought Israel as refuge, I think my friend is correct. For our soldiers began the rescue “while being targeted by machine gun, sniper and mortar fire from all directions,” according to Northern Gaza Brigade Commander Colonel Ron Ashrov.  (The final portion of the rescue was then done after dark.)


Who are they, that we should have allowed any of our boys to be at risk, even temporarily, on their behalf?  Do not imagine that because they were pursued by Hamas they were anything but bums.  It is not altogether clear which members of the Hilles clan actually crossed into Israel, but Ahmed Hilles, leader of the clan, at one point, according to a YNet report, headed Tanzim — a terrorist Fatah offshoot — in Gaza.

Hamas reports that inside the clan stronghold it discovered large weapons caches, shells and explosive devices, and that it arrested Zaki el-Schany, an expert bomb maker with Fatah.

And just to show you how convoluted it all really is:

Hamas Interior Minister Said Siam said that the raid on the Hilles clan stronghold “was not aimed against the Hilles clan, which includes Hamas operatives and dozens of shahids [martyrs].”  They were only after those members of the clan who, they claim, led an uprising against Hamas.


And, in case you think this is the end, allow me to share the clincher here:  IDF intention was to turn these people over to Fatah in Judea and Samaria, but Abbas refuses to take them! 

Fatah people located in Gaza should stay there, he says, and not abandon Gaza exclusively to Hamas.  Excuse me while I choke on this. When Hamas was engaged in the takeover of Gaza, Fatah fighters complained that their commanders abandoned them in the field, and Abbas himself did not declare a state of emergency in Gaza until they came after his million dollar house.

Besides, says Abbas now, he’s too strapped for cash to provide support stipends for additional people.  This doesn’t hold water either.  Who’s helping them survive in Gaza?

Some 34 Fatah loyalists have already been turned back to Hamas by Israel; they were arrested and reportedly most were then released.  The Israeli intention, given Abbas’s refusal, is to return to Gaza all those who aren’t wounded.  But the Association for Civil Rights in Israel has petitioned the High Court to prevent this from happening.




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