Thursday, May 31, 2007

TIMELINE - 31 MAY 1967

31 MAY 1967

"The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear - to wipe Israel off the map" - President Aref of Iraq.

"Under the terms of the military agreement signed with Jordan, Jordanian artillery, coordinated with the forces of Egypt and Syria, is in a position to cut Israel in two at Qalqilya, where Israeli territory between the Jordan armistice line and the Mediterranean Sea is only 12 kilometres wide". - Al Akhbar, Cairo's daily newspaper.

(Note: the newspaper referred to the "armistice line", not the "border" which is now claimed by the Palestinians to be a legal boundary).

…Dr Ibrahim Makhos, the Syrian Foreign Minister, left for Paris today with a message for General de Gaulle which was officially described as dealing with "Anglo-American-Zionist plans for widespread aggression against the Arab people" - The Times.


"Time is not on the side of peace", said Mr. Wilson solemnly several times tonight.

Everybody agreed it was a great pity that the Secretary-General had removed the United Nations force so hurriedly from the danger area.

"Taking the fire brigade away just when fire was about to burst out", the Foreign Secretary (George Brown) called it, "Entirely incomprehensible" agreed Mr. Heath. "fatal and perhaps fateful error of judgment" was Sir Alec Douglas-Home's phrase; this was the lat chance for the United Nations “to get a grip on themselves and apply the principles of their Charter"

Sir Alec Douglas-Home: "...the first casualty (of this crisis) had been the United Nations. It would need an immense effort, an almost superhuman effort, to restore the prestige of that organization".

Sir Barnett Janner: " ...they could not expect the people of Israel, who have done nothing wrong, to sit for a prolonged period until the pincer movement had got them so entrapped that they could not go on."

Harold Wilson (Prime Minister): "The characteristic of this situation is the declared aim of one side not to win concessions from the other. Their demand is that Israel should cease to exist - indeed has never existed. ...What had to be sought was not merely how to avoid war but to create the conditions of peace. One condition of a lasting peace must be the recognition that Israel has a right to live. Israel had been for nearly 20 years a member of the United Nations entitled to the respect and protection of the United Nations."- The Times


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

TIMELINE - 30 MAY, 1967

30 MAY, 1967

Jordan signed a five year mutual defense treaty with Egypt, thereby joining the military alliance already in place between Egypt and Syria. Jordanian forces were given to the command of an Egyptian General.

"The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel ... to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not of more declarations." - Gamal Abdel Nasser speech.

Israel called upon Jordan numerous times to refrain from hostilities. Hussein, however, was caught on the horns of a galling dilemma: allow Jordan to be dragged into war and face the brunt of the Israeli response, or remain neutral and risk full-scale insurrection among his own people. Army Commander-in-Chief General Sharif Zaid Ben Shaker warned in a press conference that "If Jordan does not join the war a civil war will erupt in Jordan".




Despite comprehensive investigation and evidence proving it was an accident, the canard that Israel deliberately attacked the American warship USS Liberty during the Six-Day War continues to resurface, this time in an op-ed by Tim Fischer in Australia's The Age.

Fischer disagrees with the conclusions of retired US Judge A Jay Cristol, whose definitive study put such conspiracy theories to rest. Instead Fischer contends that "If Israel did deliberately attack the most powerful nation on Earth, it knows it can do so and get away with murder" and "We now know it is from this period that Israel cheerfully began building its own atomic bomb. We know Israel will push over the edge whenever it suits, because recent history shows that it can get away with such actions."

Judge Cristol himself stated in 2003: "there is no truth in these conspiracy theories against Israel. [But] those who hate Israel, who hate Jews, and those who believe in conspiracy, will not be convinced by anything."

Read HonestReporting's comprehensive response to the USS Liberty canard here and send your comments to The Age -


Outside the Crown Casino complex about fifty or so demonstrators are waving their anti-Israel placards replete with lies about the Jewish State. It's doubtful if more than one or two of them have been to Israel and they certainly do not appear to know or to care that, as they stand smugly in the cold night, half way around the world Palestinian rockets are being fired at an Israeli school. It's also doubtful whether the newspaper most of them read will mention it tomorrow morning.

Inside, 1,200 supporters of Israel listen to a Lebanese woman tell of how she and many fellow Christian Lebanese suffered at the hands of the PLO during the Civil War in her country.

"You should ignore it when they talk of Israeli Apartheid because it's not the truth!"

Outside, the small crowd hostile to the Prime Minister, John Howard waits for its prey but none of them will see him tonight. Howard has entered through a back door and the rabble have missed their opportunity to heckle the man. They content themselves by trying to impress the gamblers who leave the complex with empty pockets. They don't care either.

Inside, the Australian PM is awarded the Jerusalem Prize in honour of his life-long support for the Jewish State.

Outside, what is left of the protesters melts away into the night. As protests go, it's one big yawn. Some of these protesters are from a group called the "Socialist Alternative". I was told by one of these people last year that Hizbullah and Hamas were entitled to use force against Israel because it was "an occupier". More rubbish. Israel doesn't occupy either Lebanon or Gaza and besides, as Bradley Burston writes in Haaretz:-

"To argue that attacks on civilians are justified, is to declare those civilians to be sub-human."

Inside, one of the guests is explaining to another guest, a non-Jew, his concerns about how the events in the region are often misunderstood under the weight of misinformation in the media. Adon Emet is our guest writer today and this is his letter to a friend:

Dear friend,

Most Australians are not overly concerned with the Israel, Palestine conflict. After all, it's not directly relevant in our daily lives.

Yet the news coverage is at saturation point: every day another Middle East story bursts into the news cycle.

We follow the conflict between these ancient religions, between these cultures, these blood brothers like spectators at a prizefight.

The geographic, and historical centrality of the conflict thrusts itself into our consciousness, while the world's thirst for oil makes us keep a watchful eye on the conflict lest there be economic consequences for the world at large.

Although, for many, it is all too complicated, no one likes to admit that they are out of their depth. Some have come to believe that they do know something of this conflict, and some have come to hold strong opinions from these fragmentary reports.

We tell ourselves that in the understanding of this conflict we have an advantage - impartiality.

But if we were to truly examine our "impartiality" we might find that it is often a cover for ignorance. Those thousands of news "grabs" don't really give us a basis to understand events in this complex story.

How can we develop a balanced and fair opinion, if even news reporters allow their own opinions to influence their reports?

Sometimes the reasons for this are practical as language, security and logistics mean that the news service may co-opt locals to feed their correspondents, who then summarise this partisan material under their own by-line, other times reporters may have little historical background to the conflict, but owing to their youth and enthusiasm, they are posted on-site to the dangerous front line. The impression they glean there may be quite distorted. Certainly, the overview or evolution of a situation may be impossible to discern at the coalface.

A critical example:

In the June 1967 six-day war, believing Egypt President Nasser's false claims that his army was advancing on Tel Aviv (and against Israeli entreaties), King Hussein of Jordan launched an attack upon Israel to safeguard his share of the spoils in its anticipated annihilation.

It did not pan out as he anticipated. In the process, he opened the Jordanian front and the Jordanian army was resoundingly defeated.

This is how Israel acquired the West Bank and Jerusalem - formerly not a Palestinian State at all, but part of Jordan. In the aftermath, the Arab states met in Khartoum to discuss their next move. Rather than seeking peaceful resolution (as prescribed by the UN), they uttered the famous "three noes". No to peace, no to negotiation, and no to recognition of Israel. And that's where we are today - except that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza (i.e. without any peace agreement - in the hope of stimulating peace) only to be met with hostility and a barrage of Kassam missiles and abductions.

How many times have we heard in the media that Israel conquered the West Bank without any reference to it being a defensive action - giving the false impression of aggression from Israel? As we approach the 40th anniversary of Israeli control of the West Bank it is well to remember that this territory was won in a defensive war, but I fancy that you will hear little of this in the forthcoming reportage, particularly from The Age, SBS and the ABC.

Yours sincerely,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

TIMELINE - 29 MAY, 1967

29 MAY 1967

"Now, eleven years after 1956 we are restoring things to what they were in 1956…The issue now at hand is not the Gulf of Aqaba, the Straits of Tiran or the withdrawal of UNEF, but the rights of the Palestinian people." - Nasser speech to General Assembly in Cairo: - Vance, Vick, and Pierre Lauer: Hussein of Jordan. London: Peter Owen, 1968

Abba Eban in his memoirs later commented Nasser’s speech "took the conflict far back beyond the maritime context to place the question mark squarely on Israel's survival."

NY Times reports continuing Egyptian build up of military forces in the Sinai and new Syrian attacks on Israel.

Washington Post reports that despite considerable provocation, Israel was still reluctant to have a showdown with its enemies.



A Magen David Adom ambulance transferred an eight-day-old Palestinian baby from Gaza to the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer Sunday evening.

This humanitarian act took place during one of the more difficult days in terms of Qassam launchings, during which a 36-year-old Oshri Oz was killed in Sderot.

The baby suffers from a congenital heart defect and without proper treatment will not survive long. He was transferred to the Erez crossing, where an MDA ambulance was waiting to transfer him to hospital ventilated and in an incubator.

"We transfer patients from the Gaza Strip under fire on a daily basis," said Moshe Vaknin, deputy manager of Lachish region of MDA. "Last week, our medics continued to treat a patient while shells were fired at the terminal at Erez. During the Shavuot holiday we evacuated another baby in an incubator, endangering our staff."

The baby is now hospitalized at the intensive care department at the Safra Children's Hospital at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

Read on here …. and when you're finished, ask yourself why?

Why do we never read stories like this in the Melbourne Age?

Monday, May 28, 2007

TIMELINE - 28 MAY 1967

28 MAY 1967

"The existence of Israel is in itself an aggression…what happened in 1948 was an aggression – an aggression against the Palestinian people. …(the crisis had developed because) Eshkol threatened to march on Damascus, occupy Syria and overthrow the Syrian regime. It was our duty to come to the aid of our Arab brother. It was our duty to ask for the withdrawal of UNEF. When UNEF went, we had to go to the Gulf of Aqaba and restore things to what they were when we were in Aqaba in 1956" - Gamel Abdel Nasser at a press conference for several hundred of the World’s press.

"We will not accept any…coexistence with Israel.…Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel….The war with Israel is in effect since 1948". - Gamel Abdel Nasser press conference.



The Melbourne Age newspaper has become a haven for writers of distortions, half truths and lies as the anti-Israel propaganda campaign mounts with approach of the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War.

Yesterday's Sunday Age was typical as the newspaper ignored the ongoing Palestinian and Lebanese infighting and violence, the inhuman and racist broadcasts aimed at indoctrinating children in the Palestinian media, the kidnapping of a British journalist and the deadly rocket fire across the border into Israel from Gaza.

Instead, we were served with a factually twisted and out of date piece by conservative Israel basher Tim Fischer - Six days of war, 40 years of secrecy.

Now, it might suit Fischer to claim that Israel deliberately attacked the USS Liberty and to raise conspiracy theories regarding the captured signals and/or a subsequent cover-up, but the facts simply do not support him or his specious argument.

The US National Security Agency declassified transcripts of the radio communications which took place. See -

These confirmed beyond reasonable doubt that the attack was an accident.

[Thanks to Daniel for the additional sources on the accidental attack on the USS Liberty which occurred in the fog of the Six Day Way].

FOOTNOTE: The Age has a stated policy concerning corrections as follows:-

It is the policy of The Age to correct all significant errors as soon as possible. The Age is committed to presenting information fairly and accurately."

One doesn't know whether the policy also relates to the correction of blatant disinformation in opeds but it will be of interest to read whether the Age corrects Fischer's blooper some time soon.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner examines the work of Jews and Arabs working together in hospitals who say that "the life-and-death nature of their work - and the purity of purpose they are trained to bring to it - obliterate all on-the-job considerations of race, religion or politics."

Derfner looks at Jewish and Arab doctors without borders and the important work they are doing for Israelis and Palestinians alike "without there being even a molecule of ethnic tension in the atmosphere, or at least not among the employees."

"Dr. David Zangen, a pediatric endocrinologist at Jerusalem's Hadassah-University Medical Center, Mount Scopus, is the center of a striking human tableau. Zangen is wearing a knitted kippa and sandals. On his left is Dr. Maha Atwan, a Muslim pediatrician from Bethlehem, her hair and neck covered by a cream-colored shawl. On Zangen's right is Dr. Abdul Salam Abu Libdeh, a Muslim pediatrician from Jerusalem's Beit Hanina neighborhood, wearing no religious markings and looking, in polo shirt and slacks, like the secular cosmopolitan he is.

Together we speak Hebrew and English; when Zangen is on the phone, Abu Libdeh and Atwan speak to each other in Arabic. The warmth and admiration among the three is obvious in their easy humor with each other.

Until recently, Zangen, 47, was chief medical officer of the IDF's Infantry Command. He led a public campaign in 2002 to refute Palestinian charges of an IDF 'massacre' in Jenin during Operation Defensive Shield. Atwan, 30, studied in Jordan and has to pass through IDF checkpoints on his way to and from work. Abu Libdeh, 36, studied medicine in Syria and says he "thinks twice before I'll travel to Ramallah and put up with the checkpoints." .

Like the 5,000 Jews and Arabs working at Hadassah's Mount Scopus and Ein Kerem hospitals, as well as the many tens of thousands more working at other Israeli hospitals, Zangen, Abu Libdeh and Atwan are able to work together as medical professionals, despite their opposing nationalities, by adhering to two principles. One is that the commitment to healing the sick makes nationality irrelevant. The other, say Zangen, Atwan, Abu Libdeh and every other hospital employee, Jew or Arab, interviewed for this article, is that during work hours, political discussions across ethnic lines are best kept brief and superficial."

Their patients are in good hands.

TIMELINE - 27 MAY 1967

"In 1967 Israel did not wake up one morning and decide to go to war - she woke up one morning and found she had to defend herself."

With the approach of the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War, I begin today a daily timeline of events from

13 MAY 1967

Anwar Sadat arrives back from Moscow, primed with misinformation he gives to President Nasser that Israel is massing 10-12 brigades in preparation for an attack on Syria, supposedly to take place May 17.

14 MAY 1967

Israel learns that Egyptian troops have been put on alert and begun reinforcing units in the Sinai.

15 MAY 1967

Israel responds by ordering some regular armoured units to reinforce the Sinai front and drafted a message to ensure Egypt understood that Israel was responding to Egyptian actions and not massing troops on its own initiative: "Israel wants to make it clear to the government of Egypt that it has no aggressive intentions whatsoever against any Arab state at all."

16 MAY 1967

Nasser demands withdrawal of 3,400 man UN Emergency Force (UNEF)

Egypt now has a further 30,000 troops to the 30-35 thousand permanently stationed on the peninsula, plus 200 tanks, and it was continuing to pour in more troops all the time.

17 MAY 1967

A series of emergency meetings was held by the Cabinet in Israel. There was great apprehension when head of Israeli military intelligence, Major General Aharon Yariv, reported to army headquarters, apparently mistakenly, that the Egyptian army was equipped with poison gas (Israel was unprepared for chemical warfare).

"All Egypt is now prepared to plunge into total war which will put an end to Israel" - Cairo Radio

18 MAY 1967

"The Zionist barrack in Palestine is about to collapse and be destroyed. Every one of the hundred million Arabs has been living for the past nineteen years on one hope – to live to see the day Israel is liquidated…There is no life, no peace nor hope for the gangs of Zionism to remain in the occupied land."

"As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel….The sole method we shall apply against Israel is a total war which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence". - Cairo Radio’s Voice of the Arabs broadcast.

UN Secretary General U Thant sent cable to Cairo advising that UNEF would be withdrawn. He added the rider: "Irrespective of the reasons for the actions you have taken, in all frankness, may I advise you that I have serious misgivings about it for…I believe that this Force has been an important factor in maintaining the relative quiet in the area of its deployment during the past ten years and that its withdrawal may have grave implications for peace." - Charles W Yost "How it Began", Foreign Affairs, Winter 1968.

The UK were deeply upset at the U Thant caving in without bringing the matter to the UN General Assembly: "It really makes a mockery of the peacekeeping work of the United Nations if, as soon as the tension rises, the United Nations force it told to leave. Indeed the collapse of UNEF might well have repercussions on other United Nations peacekeeping forces, and the credibility of the United Nations in this field are thrown into question.""UNEF was established with the full concurrence of the United Nations…any decision to withdraw the force should be taken in the United Nations after full consultation with all the countries involved – it should not be taken as the result of some unilateral decision." - George Brown (British Foreign Secretary), speaking at United Nations Association annual dinner in London.

19 MAY 1967

"I do not want to cause alarm but it is difficult for me not to warn the Council that, as I see it, the position in the Middle East is more disturbing…indeed more menacing than at any time since the fall of 1956." - UN Secretary General U Thant, Security Council meeting. - U.N. S/7906 26th May 1967.

Now an estimated 40 thousand Egyptian troops and 500 tanks in the Sinai. Israel ordered an immediate large-scale mobilization of reserves.

20 MAY 1967

"Our forces are now entirely ready not only to repulse the aggression, but to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland". - Syria’s Defence Minister Hafez Assad (later to be Syria’s President).

Egypt and Israel faced each other directly tonight as the United Nations Emergency Force, which had stood between them for more than ten years, began its official withdrawal.

22 MAY 1967

Egypt’s President Nasser announced: "The Israeli flag shall not go through the Gulf of Aqaba. Our sovereignty over the entrance to the Gulf cannot be disputed".

"We want a full scale, popular war of liberation… to destroy the Zionist enemy" - Syrian president Dr. Nureddin al-Attasi speech to troops.

"Israel today proposed a mutual reduction in troop concentrations in the Middle East, while its Arab neighbours laid plans to strengthen still further their forces round her borders…" - The Times

23 MAY 1967

Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran (Gulf of Aqaba ) to Israeli shipping, thereby cutting off Israel’s only supply route with Asia and stopping the flow of oil from its main supplier, Iran. By international law, this was an act of war. (Reported that day in every newspaper in the world)

President Johnson tonight condemned the Arab blockade of Israel shipping in the Gulf of Aqaba as "illegal and potentially disastrous to the cause of peace"..."The purported closing of the Gulf of Aqaba has brought a new and grave dimension to the crisis. The United States considers the gulf to be an international waterway."...Mr Johnson condemned the "hurried withdrawal" of the United Nations emergency force from Gaza and Sinai, and the "recent build-up of military forces in the area". - Times May 24th 1967.

24 MAY 1967

Israel’s foreign minister Abba Eban met with UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson at 10 Downing Street. Wilson revealed that the Cabinet had met that morning and concluded that Egypt’s blockade "must not be allowed to triumph; Britain would join with others in an effort to open the Straits."

26 MAY 1967

"Taking over Sharm el Sheikh meant confrontation with Israel (and) also meant that we were ready to enter a general war with Israel. The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel” - Gamal Abdel Nasser speech to the General Council of the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions - broadcast in Arabic by Cairo Radio’s Voice of the Arabs, Gamal Abdel Nasser, 19.35 GMT, 26th May 1967 (the speech made front page news in The Times May 27th).

27 MAY 1967

"However, Israelis took (the) occasion (to) embark on (an) emotional, evidently sincere, exposition (of) their thesis that evidence available to them (was) conclusive that Nasser has 'crossed his Rubicon' and surprise aerial attack (was) expected any moment. My remonstrances that our most careful and equally authoritative assessment is to contrary were met by argument we (were) behind (the) times and essential intelligence (in) this regard had been received in last few hours. They talked in terms of surprise air strike knocking out Israeli airfields and rendering their response ineffective. They said they had intercepts of Egyptian messages to confirm situation as they see it. Also frightened by fact four MIGs overflew Israel yesterday and Israeli Airforce (were) not able intercept." - (extract) Telegram From the US Embassy in Israel to the US Department of State

Nasser cancels a planned Egyptian attack on Israel (Operation fajr - Dawn), planned for following day, after it became obvious that the Israelis knew about the plan.

The NY Times reported that Jordan would admit Saudi and Iraqi forces into its country to do battle with Israel.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I have already had my say (here and here) about Amnesty International and how that once respected organization has lost its moral compass.

This report from the Jerusalem Post on Amnesty's moral blindness examines how the politicisation of Amnesty International has destroyed a once worthy organization.

The dumbed down version of Amnesty now routinely ignores many of the real victims of human rights abuses around the world because of specific agendas that include the demonisation of the Great and the Little Satans.

"... there can be no greater abuse of humanitarian law than firing from a civilian area against a civilian area. Both Hizbullah and Hamas do this - not as an exception to the rule, but as their principal modus operandi. Both groups deliberately attempt to maximize civilian casualties on both sides.

According to basic humanitarian law standards, therefore, Amnesty should be jumping out of its skin in condemnation of Hizbullah and Hamas. Yet, in its Mideast section summary for 2006, the report states, "Frequent Israeli air and artillery attacks resulted in the deaths of more than 650 Palestinians, mostly in the Gaza Strip and mostly in the second half of the year" - without mentioning why Israel might be taking military action in Gaza in the first place.The report provides no sources for its Palestinian casualty figure, and only in a separate section is the reader advised that half of the victims were "unarmed" - implying that the other half were terrorists. Since Amnesty has no independent ability to collect such data, we do not know if it came from Hamas itself, or if Amnesty went to any effort to determine the veracity of its figures.

But the even more egregious problem is that the summary, incredibly, makes no mention of the hundreds of Kassam attacks directed at Israeli civilians that precipitated the need for Israeli action. Similarly, the summary of the Lebanon war treats Israel and Hizbullah as complete moral twins: 'Both Israeli forces and Hizbullah combatants showed a wanton disregard for civilians and committed gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including war crimes.'

Hizbullah built its entire terrorist infrastructure around the use of the Lebanese people as human shields, and with the purpose of targeting Israeli civilians. Israel, unfortunately, was unable to avoid killing civilians while fighting Hizbullah. To equate the two sides in this case is not just 'unfair,' but a display of staggering moral blindness."

Friday, May 25, 2007


It was a little over a week ago when Syrian President Bashar Assad threatened to set the Middle East on fire over differences with the United Nations regarding Lebanon's stability.

The subtle message delivered by Assad was no bluff. Within days, the Lebanese Army was slugging it out with terrorists from Fatah al-Islam, an insurgent group holed up in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli. The insurgents are undeniably doing Syria's bidding and its victims are the very people it claims to be defending.

According to this BBC news article, the Lebanese cabinet has authorised the army to step up its efforts to "end the terrorist phenomenon that is alien to the values and nature of the Palestinian people" [I swear this quote is genuine!]. This is the same Lebanese cabinet that until not that long ago included a couple of representatives from The Party of God (aka Hizbullah and recognised and banned by many governments around the world as a terrorist organisation).

The number of dead on all sides is closing in on a hundred and it’s a number that’s rising fast. The Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora promised his people yesterday that his government would put an end to the killings and that it would "work to root out and strike at terrorism” -Fighting resumes between militants, army at Lebanese refugee camp. For its part, the insurgent group has threatened to broaden its campaign by attacking targets elsewhere in Lebanon.

Such a strange crisis as this could only take place in a crazy region like the Middle East. To some commentators and journalists within the media, a fight to the death between the Lebanese Army and terrorist aggressors like Fatah al-Islam in the midst of a refugee camp is a bit of a yawn and few are willing to recognise that there's a comparison between the terrorists of northern Lebanon and the ones who committed similar aggression in the south last year when Hizbullah turned the people of that region into human shields by attacking Israel.

Back then, the fundamentalist Shia movement was doing Syria’s bidding in much the same way as Fatah al-Islam is doing today but few understood what it was all about. Perhaps the world is finally starting to learn?

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I never get tired of watching those melodramatic old mysteries full of intrigue, surprise and plot twists that envelope the reader in the shadowy world of treachery and murder. This is so even when the surprise ending offers no surprise at all, such as when the plot unravels and you discover that the usual suspect was the criminal. The butler did it!

Much the same can be said about the condition of Palestinian society today. Irrespective of the situation – even when Palestinians are killing each other and there isn't an Israeli or a Jew in sight, it's always the "occupation" that did it. This "occupation" has become the modern day Palestinian butler on which the blame for every wrong in its society is heaped without challenge or question.

I therefore invite you to watch the above You Tube which provides a new twist to the now tired old Palestinian "occupation did it" plot. It shows the internal bloodletting between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza where the Israeli occupation ended in 2005 and how the two "militant" groups go about their deadly activities without regard for the safety of the innocent civilians around them.

So much so that one man wishes for a return of the Israelis in order to save his people from the murderers. This is one Palestinian story in which neither the butler nor the occupation did it!


The fighting continues in and around Gaza but elsewhere it's business as usual.

Well, it's not really all that usual for us to read about co-operation between Israelis and Palestinians but it is happening and let's hope that we hear more of this in the future!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


It's been going on for seven years. That's how long Palestinian terrorists have been firing their rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot. The attacks didn't stop even when Israel closed down 21 Jewish settlements in nearby Gaza and ended its occupation of the area in 2005. The terrorists kept on firing at innocent civilians when they could just as easily attacked military targets.

True to its form, the Melbourne Age virtually ignored the constant bombardment and attacks on homes, schools and places of worship over that time. Even when deaths were caused by the supposedly harmless, home-made qassam rockets, the Age downplayed the murderous attacks.

Suddenly, as the citizens of Sderot cry "enough" and the criticism of the Israeli government mounts over the situation in the town, Age reporter Ed O'Loughlin is stirred into action. He's finally found an angle: a story with which he can show the Israeli government in a bad light. So he discovers Sderot.

You can read his report here and reflect on what's missing from his unsympathetic coverage of the victims and their plight.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

MAY 1967

Yaakov Kirschen's Dry Bones makes a good point. Here is what the artist himself says:-

"Typical media coverage of the "mid-east conflict" begins with reporting "an Israeli military action". The situation which brought the Israeli response is under-reported at best.

"As I write this, the ongoing and cruel one-sided rocket war being launched from Gaza against us continues to be a non-story for the world's media. It will be, until we respond. This made me think about how we ourselves are often a party to these distortions of history. "Surely the events of May'67 were as important to remember, review, and understand as those of June'67", I thought. And I drew the above cartoon."

The apologists for the terrorists who fire these rockets often make the claim that qassams are virtually harmless, home made projectiles. Yesterday a 35 year old Israeli woman was killed by one of them. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Resistance Committees all claimed responsibility for the attack. The lessons of 1967 will be remembered.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Farfur, the Mickey Mouse rip-off from the official Hamas station, Al-Aksa TV children's programme "Tomorrow's Pioneers" has exposed the so-called Palestinian "Unity government" for what it is (or to be more precise, for what it is not) according to an article by journalist Khaled Abu Toameh writing in the Jerusalem Post - Palestinian Affairs: A Mickey Mouse unity.

"THE 'UNITY' government was established with the declared goal of persuading the international community to resume financial aid to the Palestinians. Three months later, both Hamas and Fatah are very disappointed with the failure of the US and most EU countries to accept the new Hamas-led coalition. Leaders of the two parties have been openly talking about dissolving the government if the sanctions continue."

That's right. It was all one gigantic scam - the work of two groups of flim flam men operating together so they could take the money and run. The plan is unravelling because their "unity" hasn't deceived those donors who would help out on condition that the Palestinians declare their intentions were peaceful. Unfortunately, they are anything but peaceful, even towards each other.

So far this year, more than 250 Palestinians have killed each other in internal fighting between rival factions and clans (of course, you wouldn't know this if you followed some segments of the media).

The sad part for those who want to see peace in the region is that it's coming up to four years since the Palestine Authority signed the Road Map to Peace "without reservation" but it still hasn't taken the very first steps involved in this performance based prescription for achieving peace with its neighbour. This is what the PA agreed to do under Phase 1 of the Road Map:-

"Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel."

This is why the image of Farfur, the rodent inciter and advocate of violence to Palestinian children, represents what is very much the essence of the problem with Palestine today.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


A recent opinion piece by Thomas Friedman puts some perspective on the situation in Israel and in Lebanon in post Winograd times. I'm posting his opening and you can read it all here:-

"HEZBOLLAH'S leader, Hassan Nasrallah, made a remarkable statement last week. He praised Israel for conducting an inquiry into last year's war with Hezbollah - an inquiry that accused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of 'serious failure in exercising judgment, responsibility and prudence.':-

"Nasrallah was quoted by the BBC as saying Israelis 'study their defeat in order to learn from it,' in contrast with the Arab regimes that 'do not probe, do not ask, do not form inquiry commissions, as if nothing has happened.'

One has to be impressed by his honesty, but he did not take it all the way, since the Arab leader who most needs to be probed is Nasrallah himself. He started the war with Israel, which was a disaster for both sides."

We don't need a sign more certain of Hizbullah's declining popularity since the war's end than today's news that the terrorist group doesn't believe that Lebanon can hold Presidential elections until a solution is reached to the six-month impasse it created with the ruling anti-Syrian majority in that country.

And Dutch-Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld also has some interesting views on the Winograd Commission’s interim report in Ehud Olmert Is Not Solely To Blame. As he points out, the reality of what took place is far more complex than might first meets the eye.

Friday, May 18, 2007


A 25-year old Palestinian man has been arrested for his part in a plan to assassinate Israel''s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - Gaza man chrged for gathering info in plot to assassinate Olmert.

Masseb Bashir, a resident of Dir el-Balah in the Gaza Strip, gained entry into Israel through his work with the organization "Doctors without Borders" which performs a great service to people around the world who are suffering in areas of crisis. According to this Jerusalem Post report, Bashir had been working with DWB for several years and his arrest has embarassed his boss but not enough to prevent him from showing that his sympathies lie with the man who is now (hopefully) his former employee:-.

Duncan Mclean, head of 'Doctors Without Borders' in the region, told Israel Radio, "I don't think embarrassed would be the right word. We are very sad for Bashir who has been working for us for almost six years. But we would like to make it very clear that we make a distinction between his professional work and what he does on his personal time in the sense that all our staff is hired for professional reasons and I don't think our organization can be held liable for every aspect of their life."

Poor Duncan is so into damage control and making piffling excuses that he can't even bring himself to express contrition on behalf of his organisation for its role in an act of terrorism. He's sad for the would-be murderer Bashir but not a word about those who he represents at the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, nor for the fact that such behaviour hurts the very people he's supposed to be helping, nor for the position of the Israelis. Not even the recognition that, at least in Israel, Bashir will get a fair trial and the assistance of lawyers. If Bashir were a DWB staffer working in Sudan arrested for attempting to assassinate the Sudanese Prime Minister, Mclean would not be be giving his sympathy today to Bashir but to his widow.

And of course, it would be a stretch for Mclean and his organisation to acknowledge that his employee's behaviour is an example of why Israel needs to concern itself with being extra vigilant about protecting its own borders - with or without the help of Mclean's doctors.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Associated Press reporter Ibrahim Barzak writes in the Jerusalem Post about how bad the situation in Gaza really is - Eyewitness: Carnage in Gaza.

"Today I have seen people shot before my eyes, I heard the screams of terrified women and children in a burning building, and I argued with gunmen who wanted to take over my home.

I have seen a lot in my years as a journalist in Gaza, but this is the worst it's been."

Meanwhile, the plight of Palestinian journalists in the area goes from bad to worse according to Elder of Ziyon who quotes the Palestinian news outlet Ma'an news as follows:

Gaza – Ma'an – Journalists, correspondents and other employees at Arab and international news agencies and satellite TV stations are currently under siege in a tower building which hosts the offices of several press agencies.

Satellite TV stations are transmitting live images from the spot, and the sounds of gunshots and explosions can be clearly heard inside and outside the besieged building. Fear is apparent on the faces of the journalists at the Shawwa, Husary and Juwhara tower in central Gaza City.

Cross fire continues between rival gunmen who occupied the roof of the building, and others, who are currently shooting at the building where the journalists are besieged.

Wael Dahdouh, a reporter for Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV, said that more than 30 journalists are besieged in a small room, "where we are seeking
refuge from the shelling and shooting inside our offices.".

He added, "Another building with journalists in has been shelled by anti-tank missiles, while gunshots and shrapnel penetrate the walls of the place, every now and then.".

The wise Elder very sagely comments that these same journalists "who have soft pedaled Palestinian Arab violence for years are now the main targets (and three have already been killed.) And now, on live TV, they are pleading for their lives from those who really don't care about human life."

And what does our own Melbourne Age write about the situation when it comes up for air after taking its mandatory swipes at Israel?

It takes another swipe at the Jewish State. Here is the Age reportage on the story, discovered hidden away in the “In Brief” Section, and I quote:


Palestinians Killed

GAZA. At least 10 Palestinians were killed yesterday – eight members of the Presidential Guard in one incident – in the deadliest fighting between Hamas and Fatah since the rivals formed a unity government to end bloodshed threatening to spill into civil war.

For many Palestinians, the violence was particularly disturbing, coming on the “Nakba”, an annual day of national reflection over the shared suffering in the conflict with Israel.”

Particularly disturbing for many Palestinians indeed. Someone at the Age needs to be told that it's equally disturbing for Israelis when members of their families are murdered by the same thugs who are now terrorising their own in Gaza and parts of the West Bank but that's another story, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The Melbourne Age did its level best today to help compound the tragic story of the Palestinian people by pushing a heavily slanted case against Israel on the 40th anniversary of the reunification of the City of Jerusalem while, at the same time, ignoring damning stories of malfeasance and incitement to hatred by the Palestinian leadership that continues to render the attainment of peace in this troubled region well nigh impossible.

That's the only conclusion one can reach on the evidence of what this newspaper produced for its readers today.

This is the story of what happened after a week in which the Age totally ignored the inflammatory use by Hamas, the party elected to lead the Palestinians, of Disney favourite Mickey Mouse to teach hatred and Islamic supremacy to its children, ignored continual barrages of quassam rockets into Israeli homes and schools and downplayed the bloodletting and lawlessness occurring in Gaza and to a lesser extent in the West Bank. Scarcely a word was written about the deadly clashes between Fatah and Hamas whose toll was 17 dead on Naqba Day (Tuesday) and has now reached 30 in 4 days including innocent children.

The Age also chose to ignore the news today that international aid to the PA nearly tripled in 2006, despite the international boycott of the Hamas-led terrorist government. Tripled while the rocket attacks, hatred and incitement in the media continued! Heaven forbid that this gets out to a world force fed with news of starving Palestinians in a land where the gun rules and the charter of the party elected to govern calls on its people to kill Jews!

Also consigned to the blank pages was this story: ISRAEL DEVELOPS ANTHRAX VACCINE, a good news story about the pesky zionists which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald - the Age's sister publication. Hidden entirely have been stories of co-operation between Israel and the PA to maintain employment for Palestinians even in areas where they fire rockets at the Jews. Heaven forbid that something nice about Israel can be written by this newspaper that spouts about tolerance and seeking peace.

Exactly what news did the Age bring its readers today?

Here’s the line up:-





The first three articles are a collection of news items that have been around for most of the week but were obviously kept on hold for today. They are news items but all are presented from an anti-Israel perspective. There's no balance, the Israeli viewpoint if presented at all, comes almost as an afterthought and there's no context either given that the Age airbrushes out of existence news of Palestinian behaviour that would explain in many cases why Israel is forced to take the action that it does – often as a deterrent to the very terror attacks, the news of which the Age routinely suppresses and keeps out of the view of its readers.

The fourth item by Age staff writer Maher Mughrabi is an Op Ed piece that follows the same formula of telling one side of the story and embellishing it in such a way that the Israelis look bad and the Palestinians come out smelling like roses. Mughrabi's article stunningly makes the claim that John Howard's acceptance of a "Zionist award" (meant to sound sinister but it's actually the Jerusalem Prize) will not help bring about Middle East peace.


I have news for Mr. Mughrabi. Hanan Ashrawi was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 2003 and that hasn't helped in bringing about Middle East peace. Not one iota. Of course, nobody believed that it would at the time and nobody expects that an award made to John Howard is going to be a turning point in the attainment of peace in the Middle East either!

So give us all a break please. You know well what's needed to bring about peace in the Middle East and it involves good faith on both sides. The two major parties - Howard's Liberals and Kevin Rudd's ALP are both pushing the same message - supporting the right of Israel and a future Palestinain State to live side by side together in peace and harmony. You should take a leaf out of their book instead of attempting to damn one side in the conflict while ignoring the terrorists whose aim is to fight on until it wipes out the Jewish State. Why not start by reading the article by Professor Shlomo Avinery which I featured yesterday?

We know it takes two to tango but in the Melbourne Age, one side seems only to want to dance the twist. This twisting and distorting and the hiding of what's happening and why it's happening will only see the Palestinian downward spiral to continue on its merry way. The Age is doing untold damage to Israel and Palestine by telling half the story and keeping the rest on the blank pages.

That is the real naqba.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Today is the 59th anniversary of the end of the British mandate of Palestine, the date in our calendar upon which the State of Israel was established. The United Nations had also resolved on November 29, 1947 to establish an Arab State on part of Palestine at the same time but the Palestinian leadership rejected the international community's partition plan and joined five Arab armies in what they called a war of extermination against the newborn Jewish State, a war that they lost and which gave rise to what the Palestinians now call the "catastrophe."

Writing in Haaretz, Professor Shlomo Avinery of the Hebrew University last week suggested that the Palestinian people need to take a look at themselves and accept some - not all - of the responsibility for their so-called catastrophe.

"What troubles me and other Zionist Israelis wishing to be attentive to the Palestinians' pain and willing to help rectify injustices and accept a historic compromise, is the Palestinians' complete unwillingness to acknowledge that in 1948 they and their leaders made a terrible historic mistake - of both political and moral proportions - by rejecting the international compromise they were offered." .

Since, the mistake is compounded with each passing year as the Palestinian downward spiral continues, Avinery's suggestion that they would have done better had they accepted the "half-full glass" is an argument worthy of merit and one which the international community should continue to encourage to help avoid further suffering on both sides.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Kids with guns
Kids with guns
Taking over
but it won't be long
They mesmerized, skeletons
Kids with guns
Kids with guns
Easy does it, easy does it, they got something to "no" to

Drinking out (Push it real, push it)
Pacifier (Push it real, push it)
Vitamin Souls (push it real , push it)
The Street desire Push it real,push it
Doesn't make sense to (Push it real, push it)
But it won't be long (Push it real, push it)
Kids with guns
Kids with guns
Easy does it, easy does it, they got something to say "no" to

And they're turning us into monsters
Turning us into fire
Turning us into monsters
It's all desiar
It's all desiar

Lyrics by Gorillaz [Distant relatives of "pigs" and "monkeys"]

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Despite the startling resemblance between Farfur (left), the star of the Al Aqsa TV children’s show "Tomorrow’s Pioneers" and Ed O'Loughlin (top), Jerusalem bureau person for Fairfax Newspapers, they were not separated at birth and in fact they have never met.

It appears that they don't even know a thing about each other which probably explains why virtually every media outlet that covers the news from the Middle East has given time and space in recent days to the horrendous story of how Hamas manipulates and poisons the minds of Palestinian children and teaches them hatred towards Jews and the concept of Islamic domination. The conspicuous absentee is the Melbourne Age.

Surely, this glaring omission is not for lack of the availability of a means whereby he can put his usual spin on a bad news story about Palestinian behaviour? After all, AFP managed to do that with this story entitled "Defiant Hamas TV airs resistance Mickey again" about the decision to ignore PA Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti's request to axe the programme. CNN has tried much the same and You Tube banned the original Mickey video.

What are all the apologists for this form of blatant child abuse worried about?

It's clear that this Mickey is not about "resistance" - he's about teaching children that it's nice to hate and to kill Jews and that Islam is going to take over the whole world. This is the narrative of the party elected to govern the Palestinians and it explains why peacemaking in the region is proving so elusive. And journalists with sympathy for their cause have been working overtime to cover up the narrative. The Mickey story is so powerful because it resonates with parents of children around the world. It's not normal for kids' heroes to advocate genocide and murder they way Farfur is doing it on Hamas TV.

O'Loughlin is, in fact, still assisting the Palestinians in covering up the story by not reporting on it - just as he doesn't report on many other stories of self-inflicted pain that form part of the Palestinian tragedy.

You can get the real story on what Hamas and the other armed thugs are doing to their people on Palestinian Media Watch.

Elder of Ziyon has news of another grim milestone:-

"PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 9:00 on Thursday, 10 May 2007, the child Shayma Jaser Jarghoun, 7-year old girl from Khan Yunis, was admitted to the European Hospital in the city. She was suffering from moderate shrapnel wounds in the feet sustained when a homemade grenade was thrown during an armed intra-clan clash involving members of her family.

"At approximately 8:20 on the same day, Musallam Mustafa El-Sha’er (47) from El-Bureij refugee camp was injured by a bullet in the right thigh, fired by one of his relatives over a financial dispute. El-Sha’er was taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir El-Balah for treatment, where his injury was listed as moderate.At approximately 23:00 on Tuesday, 8 May 2007, Salim Abdel Fattah El-Sharabi (35) from Nablus was killed in Ras El-Ein Quarter in Nablus. Gunmen killed El-Sharabi in a crime motivated by a clan dispute. He was killed by multiple bullets to the upper body."

Missing also are reports about the Muslim fundamentalist gunmen who attacked an UNRWA-run school in Rafah killing one and wounding six others, how Palestinian security is setting up oppressive checkpoints in Gaza as a security measure and that a Palestinian couple were arrested for selling their daughters, aged 12 and 13.

None of these stories are of interest to the Fairfax Jerusalem bureau person and one reason could be contained in the words of his own newspaper's description of their mouse/man which describes him as "lazy of character and intemperate of habit". No, it has has to be something more than mere laziness that keeps this news on the blank pages.

Friday, May 11, 2007


You have to ask how it is that Britain could become a country that is home to unions of teachers and unions that pander to reactionary groups like Hamas and Hizbullah, how an ogre like Ken Livingstone could become and remain Mayor of London, a city which has "become home to people wanted for terrorist crimes as far afield as Cairo and Karachi?

Britain is sinking fast. It was humiliated by the Iranians last month. Yesterday Tony Blair announced the end of his Prime Ministership with his tail between his legs. The Empire is fading and the Britain of the past is another country.

Christopher Hitchens returns to Finsbury Park, a shabby area of North London, and the home of his lost youth to look into the face of his new country. Londonistan Calling makes interesting but chilling reading.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Palestine's Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti has removed for "review" an outrageous television programme that uses Farfour, a Mickey Mouse-like character, to urge Palestinian children to fight Israel and the West and work for world Islamic domination. According to Barghouti, the show has been removed because the use of the cartoon character in such a role represented a "mistaken" approach to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.

Nice work Mustafa but I smell a rat. You're lying!

The truth is that Barghouti is in damage control mode because, for once, this example of extreme incitement in the official Palestinian media came under scrutiny in the media. As you can see from the Associated Press headline, Farfour wasn't talking about a struggle against Israeli occupation - his message was about the destruction of Israel and "Islamic dominion" as well (no doubt under pressure from the Arab lobby, AP later changed its headline to "Hamas 'Mickey Mouse' preaches resistance" but the cartoon's message remains crystal clear).

Israel has long been complaining about the incitement that fills the Palestinian airwaves. A short visit to the Memri or Palestinian Media Watch sites provides numerous examples of how the Palestinian media is poisoning the minds of its own population with vile race hatred. This is, of course, in wilful breach of the PA's international commitments to end such incitement.

Naturally, the Palestinians will always find a way to blame the Israelis for their own malfeasance. According to Samir Zakkout of the Gaza Community Health Programme, it's "the fault of both (Israel and the Palestinians). If Palestinians had peace, children wouldn’t learn violence."

That is indeed the case but if the PA honoured its international commitments to end violence and incitement then both sides could get down to talking peace as set out in their written down agreements. That is the way to end the occupation and achieve palestinian statehood and peace.

As for our own media, you can rely on The Age's Ed O'Loughlin to ignore the media controversy about Farfour. Instead he continues his pre-occupation with attacking Israel by regurgitating condemnation of Isreali road-blocks and other security measures in the West Bank, this time by the World Bank. The article takes its time explaining the reasons for the Israeli measures (I think O'Loughlin knows deep down that very few readers can remain awake for the duration of his articles anyway) and doesn't mention the numerous errors contained in the World Bank's report.

As for Farfour, O'Loughlin shows us again that he's a mouse and not a man and ignores Hamas' favourite rodent.

The two other daily newspapers available in Melbourne, the Australian and the Herald Sun ran with Mickey Mouse today and the Age did not.

You can draw your own conclusions as to why.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Arnold & Frimet Roth's excellent blog from Israel, THIS ONGOING WAR, asks whether Palestinian children can survive the terrorists who are driving their society into the mud.

Here's an excerpt from It's raining death again:-

"Unfortunately for Israelis living on undisputed Israeli land in proximity to the cesspools of the emerging Pal-Arab polity in Gaza, whenever the fratricidal Fatah -v- Hamas blood-letting reaches fever pitch, as it is this week, the rockets start to fly into the cottages, shops, factories and schools on our side of the border. (The ever-reliable Khaled Abu Toameh offers his againstthe-stream analysis today under the headline 'Boycott fueled Fatah-Hamas tensions'.)"

The Roths' article describes some of the really interesting things being done by Hamas lately - especially on its own television programmes for children.

Strangely enough, there's one Jewish voice around these parts (and away from the firing line) who doesn't have a problem endorsing the Hamas crowd's right to travel the world and to spread its hatred (and that of Hizbullah and its supporters to do the same thing).

Of course, he wouldn't have much of a voice left if his mates at Hamas invoked the Hamas Covenant's Seventh Article in his presence but that's another story.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Hundreds of thousands rallied over the weekend in New York's Israel Parade as shown in this photograph from Urban Infidel. The parade brought out a small number of losers including representatives from one facet of the ugly face of Judaism - the Neturei Karta - as well as few anti-Zionist demonstrators but they were overshadowed by the overwhelming numbers wishing Israel well as it enters its 60th year.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


How many of you cringed when you read that extraordinarily fluffy piece produced by the Sydney Morning Herald's Ben Cubby on Sheik Taj el-Din al Hilaly, the mufti we all love to hate? This unashamed PR exercise went so badly for the Fairfax group newspaper that even its sister publication, the Melbourne Age wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. Now, Brendan Shanahan of the rival Telegraph newspaper saw through Cubby and has eaten him and his newspaper alive for its blatant promotion of this charlatan in Fools give racism a real Sheik.

Shanahan exposes the warm and fuzzy slant taken on Hilaly and hits the nail right on the head by pointing out that the mufti was painted by Cubby as a warm and cosy Aussie loving soul "until the subject of the Holocaust came up and the Hilaly of old came shining through.

'I, like many researchers in the world,' he was quoted as saying, 'shy off the number of innocent victims that had been estimated at six million.'

Researchers? Oh, right: he's talking about neo-Nazis.

It is staggering that The Sydney Morning Herald would allow nonsense like this to be printed, qualified only with the observation that Hilaly 'still treads a fine line that many may continue to see as racist'.

'Racist' is saying that Jews are cheap and have big noses. Hilaly isn't walking a fine line; he's goose-stepping down the pavement."

Shanahan makes the point that "when Hilaly's views are presented, unchallenged, as simply a matter of opinion it paves a dangerous road in which historical fact counts for nothing."

It may be staggering to some that the SMH allows this sort of nonsense but I'm not staggered at all that it allowed a reporter to involved it in this foolish attempt to whitewash such a vile and abhorrent character as Hilaly at a time when even his fellow Muslims have had enough. More and more Fairfax reporters are walking that dangerous road with each day.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


The Columbine High School massacre, highlighted by Mike Moore in his award winning documentary "Bowling for Columbine", has just fallen to third place in the list of the deadliest school shootings in the history of the United States behind last month's Virginia Tech massacre and the 1966 University of Texas massacre.

At 11.10am on Tuesday, 20 April 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold arrived at Columbine High School in separate cars and commenced their killing spree. Harris carried a 12 gauge Savage-Springfield 67H pump-action shotgun and a Hi-Point 995 Carbine 9 mm semi-automatic rifle with thirteen 10 round magazines which he fired 96 times. His primary weapon was the shotgun, which was fired a total of 25 times before he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with the shotgun. Klebold was carrying a 9 mm Intratec Tec-9 Semi-automatic handgun with one 52, one 32, and one 28 round magazine as well as a 12 gauge Stevens 311D double barrelled sawed-off shotgun. He fired the handgun 55 times before committing suicide.

When it was all over, the pair had murdered twelve students and one teacher and twenty-four other students were injured directly as a result of the massacre with three others injured attempting to escape.

The massacre provoked debate on a range of issues including gun control laws, the availability of firearms and school bullying but the public outrage about the murders did not prevent the National Rifle Association from holding its annual convention just fifteen miles away in the Colorado state capital of Denver a little over a week later.

Tom Mauser’s son Daniel was one of the victims of the Columbine High School massacre. Mauser attended a protest rally against the violence at the Denver State Capitol clutching a sign that read on one side: "Don't let my son Daniel's death be in vain. Reduce the violence", and on the other, "My son Daniel died at Columbine. He'd expect me to be here today."

With tears welling in his eyes, Muser uttered these words to the 3,000 strong crowd:

"Something is wrong in this country when a child can grab a gun so easily and shoot a bullet into the middle of a child's face, as my son experienced. The time has come to realize that a TEC-9 semiautomatic assault weapon with a 30-bullet magazine, like the one that was used to kill my son, is not used to kill deer."

Harris and Klebold were mentioned by the Virginia Tech killer, Cho Seung-hui who called them "martyrs". Cho exceeded them when he murdered thirty-two.

And the world looked on in horror.

As I write, children are being murdered and maimed in Gaza at an alarming rate. Israeli security forces defending their own citizens from terrorism are not involved. These deaths are as a result of internal violence. Palestinian killing Palestinian. Since the beginning of the year, the toll of dead as a result of such violence far exceeds the accepted norm of any other society. Elder of Ziyon has the current number of deaths at close to 200 with a large number of them children. Hundreds more have been injured.

While the United Nation's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict recently criticised the IDF’s security polices (which have resulted in far fewer Palestinian deaths and most of those were of terrorists or those put in harm's way by them) she – and the rest of the world – have remained silent on the subject of the ongoing endemic violence taking place in the West Bank and Gaza.

Avi Issacharoff describes some of the violence in Gaza in this Haaretz article. With the ruling parties of Hamas and Fatah busily fight each other, there is no semblance of civil society and gangs with guns roam free to terrorise the population.

This is Palestine under the rule of a so-called "Unity Government" dominated by a Hamas that exists with a clear purpose of destroying its neighbour. When the leadership issues schoolbooks teaching children to kill Jews and when it permits them to sell guns in market places then the children have no hope for a normal, happy and free life. All they have left for them is to go out Bowling for Palestine.

The world doesn't look on at this in horror because it doesn't know about such things. The information is there, but for the most part, it is kept away from the public eye and can only be found in the blank pages.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


There's an excellent opinion piece from Greg Sheridan in today's Australian entitled Rare support for democracy in a sea of misunderstanding. His views are timely coming on the heels of this week's Winograd Report on the failings of the Olmert Government in the conduct of the Second Lebanon War.

Sheridan argues that Israel is a legitimate nation and should not be treated as a pariah. Indeed, the fact that the existing institutions of this embattled nation can produce a report highlighting the mistakes of its own government is a tribute to its democratic nature.

" ... the bigger story is what a vibrant, genuine, problem-solving democracy Israel is to commission such a report and let its findings go where they may. Moreover, the question is not whether Israel is perfect, but are its actions reasonable for a democracy under such constant threat and attack. How would we react in circumstances similar to those Israel faces?

"Anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment are all different, yet they are all intimately related. They draw from diverse sources, yet they are all, in their virulent forms, fundamentally irrational and evidence of psychological and ideological dysfunction rather than genuine analysis."

Sheridan finishes on this note:-

"Yet the UN, and the Left internationally, focuses with obsessive zeal on Israel. I once interviewed Abdurrahman Wahid, the former president of Indonesia and a great Muslim leader, and asked him about the Middle East. Israel, he told me, "is a democracy in a sea of misunderstanding.

"Commentators should write about Israel the same as they write about any other nation, with a desire to tell the truth, know the facts and make judgments based on civilised values. I agree with Wahid. Israel is a democracy - that fact speaks for itself."

These opinions reflect the reality of Israel's conflict with it neighbours. By way of comparison I note that one of the banner headlines in today's Jerusalem Post is telling readers that an ex MP in Jordan has been arrested for criticising the government. And if you try that sort of thing in the West Bank or Gaza, you might end up sharing your lodgings with a certain British journalist.

Sadly, it remains a fact of life that the standards sought by Sheridan are not emulated by others in our media. One needs only to read the one-sided reporting of Ed O'Loughlin of the Melbourne Age to understand how journalists with an agenda can work the system. Writing in this week's Australian Jewish News, Tzvi Fleischer describes how O'Loughlin "brilliantly distorts facts and substitutes opinions for news". Unfortunately, the article is not yet available on the internet and I am unable to provide a link to clearly demonstrate why it is that Fleischer describes O'Loughlin as "a perfect illustration of what is wrong with much of contemporary journalism," so I'll leave you with this example.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi for the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs. Here is a selection of excerpts:


"I have visited the Palestinian quarters in Jerusalem as well. Their side is dilapidated, for which they blame the Israelis. In private, however, I met a young Palestinian who spoke excellent English. There were no cameras and no notebooks. He said the situation was partly their own fault, with much of the money sent from abroad to build Palestine being stolen by corrupt leaders.

"When I start to speak in the Netherlands about the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and the role of Arafat in the tragedy of Palestine, I do not get a large audience. Often one is talking to a wall. Many people reply that Israel first has to withdraw from the territories, and then all will be well with Palestine.

"Before I joined the VVD liberal party, I was a member of the Labor party. They have forgotten the positive role they played in the creation of Israel. Their great model thinker is the Israeli philosopher Avishai Margalit, who promotes solidarity with those who are weak. In socialist eyes whoever isn't white or Western is a victim, and this includes Muslims, Palestinians, and immigrants. My position is that I am not a victim. I am responsible for my acts like anybody else and so are all people."


"There are many other cases of minority racism. For instance, a nephew and a niece may have to get married because the family wants to keep its blood pure. Marrying someone from another race, of course, is completely out of the question. If, however, a native Dutch woman says, ‘I'm not interested in a Moroccan man,' then it makes all the headlines. The Dutch think this manifests the decline of their society.

"If a Dutchman says he doesn't want a Moroccan or a Turk as a neighbor, he is a racist. If a Moroccan says, ‘I want to live next to other Moroccans,' that is viewed as a sign of group attachment, because he has been isolated by immigrating. So that is not considered racism. If a right-wing skinhead draws swastikas on a Jewish cemetery, that is Nazism and he will be punished. If a Moroccan immigrant does the same, it is an expression of his displeasure with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


"The crisis of Dutch socialism can be sized up in its attitudes toward both Islam and Israel. It holds Israel to exceptionally high moral standards. The Israelis, however, will always do well, because they themselves set high standards for their actions.

"The standards for judging the Palestinians, however, are very low. Most outsiders remain silent on all the problems in their territories. That helps the Palestinians become even more corrupt than they already are. Those who live in the territories are not allowed to say anything about this, because they risk being murdered by their own people."

When asked whether the moral standards to which many Dutch hold Israel are often also far higher than those they apply to the Netherlands, Hirsi Ali replies: "The VVD and parts of the CDA Christian Democrats do not apply double standards to Israel, nor do the smaller Christian parties. Many other politicians do, however.

"This also has to be seen in a wider context. Not only the Netherlands, but many other European countries have changed their minds after more than fifty years of commemorations of the Holocaust. They are happy to free themselves of its history and of Israel's history. Thus they apply these very unequal criteria. They also think they are entitled to have their double standards, whereas the Israelis are not."

Read the entire interview here.