Thursday, September 03, 2015

03-Sep-15: Decades of UNRWA malfeasance and now a chance to shine a little light and bring change

An UNRWA elementary school in Gaza City's Al-Shati camp
for "refugees" in April 2014. The camp was established in 1948
and today continues to be home for generations of people [Image Source]
We just signed the petition calling for an official investigation into Chris Gunness' role at the unique Palestinian-Arabs-only UN "refugee" organization. We added this comment:
Precious lives continue to be lost and ruined through the ongoing failure by international stakeholders to address UNRWA's chronic failures. Chris Gunness' overt prejudice and his distortion of UN values justify immediate investigation of his outrageous malfeasance - a small but appropriate start. 
While the failures at UNRWA have our attention, here's a reminder of a concrete proposal we put forward a month ago to address one of the most egregious of them: "06-Aug-15: Educating their children: a modest, peace-focused proposal". It's about bringing radical change for the better to the education that Palestinian Arab children get in their schools.

This evidently seemed a good enough idea for the "Spokesperson and Director of Advocacy and Communications for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East" to respond the same day asking for more information. Naturally enough we promptly supplied it:

Twitter source
Until you delve into what goes on there, the Gunness/UNRWA affair might seem petty, personal or vindictive. It's anything but. UNRWA provides an indispensable safety net for the malign activities of the people in charge in Gaza and the other territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority, with life-and-death consequences for their children as well as ours. 

It ought to be part of the solution and keeps claiming to be that, particularly to the Western donor nations who keep it going. In reality, it's central to the problem.

UNRWA's billion-dollar-annual-budget coupled with a sickening focus on educating for terror goes unremarked, unchecked and un-stopped by all of the world's agencies for the protection of children. In no particular order, they include UNICEFDefence for Children InternationalUNESCOChild Rights International NetworkUN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Washington-based Jerusalem FundSave the ChildrenArab Council for Childhood Development and others. 

Thousands of bureaucrats, hundreds of fund-raisers - and no one with enough time or passion to address the daily disaster which is Palestinian Arab education

Unaccountably, we have heard nothing further since providing Gunness with our contact details and an additional copy of our educational proposal. Hard to understand why a man with his huge responsibilities and facing such monumental challenges would not want to discuss Israeli help, but there you are. A real puzzle. And a great pity that the possibility of bringing positive, constructive change may be getting ignored once again.

Suggested further reading:

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

02-Sep-15: Lights, action, camera, bite: Scenes from a cognitive war

Drama on a Judean hillside: A Nabi Saleh scene from this past Friday
A reader of this blog, Pam Bloom (@Telecombarbie on Twitter), has been on a personal odyssey for the past year. In a letter she sent us today, Pam, who lives in New York State where she is a regional manager in the software industry and who is Jewish, describes how she got to the point of feeling compelled to engage in some personal research on Israel and the challenges it faces. 

The process was triggered during the tumultuous days of last summer’s Operation Protective Edge when she found herself in discussion with a Palestinian friend on Facebook. Her friend's claims were so damning of Israel that she felt the need to personally dig into sources and separate out what was truthful from what was not.

Some days ago, she was invited to a local event. It looked innocuous enough - in her words “perhaps even worthy”. She looked a little more carefully into the cause promoted by the hosts of the gathering, and then she sat down to reply to them earlier today. Pam has kindly allowed us to share her letter here.

Subject: Bassem's Speaking Engagement in Woodstock
Date: September 2, 2015  

Hi Ellen and Ariel, 

I am going to decline this invite. I thought this speaker would be at a public venue, and not breaking bread with us on Rosh Hashanah. I don't break bread with patriarchs of a terrorist clan, nor do I break bread with people who engage in child abuse. Yes, I believe indoctrinating your children with hate and encouraging them to commit crimes, including orchestrating suicide bombs to kill innocent people is indeed child abuse.   Bassem's beloved daughter did just this. I understand that he is very proud of her. And well, I think we can surmise which direction his daughter "Shirley Temper" is headed. People are not born with hate in their heart; they are taught this. 

One of the victims of the Sbarro massacre was Malka Roth. She was 15 years old, and her only crime was eating pizza. Her father and mother have had to live with this tragedy for the last 14 years - their daughter taken from them in such a horrific way.

Do you have children? The loss of a child is indescribable. By having this man to dinner, one could infer that you condone these behaviours. I certainly don't. 

I take it upon myself to educate my fellow humans on the truths about Israel and the lies of many Palestinians, a narrative that gets oft repeated but clearly violates any semblance of reality. I also learn a lot from people like Bassem Eid, a true human rights advocate. Or Mudar Zahran, who is also Palestinian who speaks about one of the core issues of the Palestinians, all calls for violence must end and the right of return for descendants of refugees to the State of Israel will not happen. Palestinians have a unique definition for "refugee" that is not used by any other ethnic group on the planet - none. 

Bassem's urging of Pallywood charades do no service to his family either. His cute little son can't even remember which arm to wear his cast on as it keeps floating from one arm to the other. What kind of man, what kind of father encourages his child to engage in this behavior? Or should we conclude that this poor child has had multiple bones broken, in both arms, thereby requiring him to always wear a cast. If so, how horrid is this and shouldn't someone be looking into this? 

Peace will only come when Palestinians can elect a government that does not encourage violence towards its neighbours, in the form of rockets, stabbings, cars running over innocent people, or "by any means possible". They need to stop spreading lies that Israel wants to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque which is a complete fabrication. You do know that none of us here can even pray on the Temple Mount, yes? That sure sounds like religious discrimination to me, as a Jew. 

They need to stop wishing for a Judenfrei land, because that is their wish. Arabs that stayed in Israel after the war and are Israeli citizens are some of the best cared for Arabs in the entire Middle East, with full citizenship and all that it entails in any democratic society. The ones that left and "settled" in other ME countries such as Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan cannot say that about their own plight which is truly the tragedy. Israel ethnically cleansed thousands of Jews out of Gaza only to be thanked with suicide bombings and more rockets. My people have been virtually expelled out of the entire MENA area but that is not good enough for them. They want all of the Jews gone. Great, Muslim majority countries are doing such a bang up job with the countries they already have.  

Thank G-d for Israel's existence. Never again means that Jews from all over the world know that if circumstances were to change violently, as we are starting to see in many countries - they will always have a safe haven and Israel will protect them. Israel does more for its own people than any Arab country has ever done for their own, such as the Palestinians. 

So in conclusion, I am shocked that this man is allowed to fly freely into my country, as clearly child abuse is a crime. Encouraging and inciting violence is also a crime. However, what is important to note, is that Israel does allow him to fly. Sure sounds like oppression to me, said no one sane ever.

I can continue to educate humanity about the truth behind this conflict and G-d takes care of the rest.

You enjoy your Rosh Hashanah as I will enjoy mine, as I continue to pray for innocent people being killed for being Jews. 

Never forget. Never again. 


* * *
The guest speaker whom Pam was invited to hear is Bassem Tamimi. It's his family and clan that feature in the “clash” with IDF soldiers described in our previous posts:
We hear that Tamimi is going to be speaking at locations across the US in the next two weeks. We wonder whether he's going to explain in a frank and honest way the things that can be seen in the following photos. Let's call them the Nabi Saleh Photographer Swarm.

Image Source
Image Source
Image Source
These photos were taken from just behind where the now-famous boy-in-the-headlock scenes were captured in the little village of Nabi Saleh this past Friday. We became aware of them only today. They can be seen at a French site here.  

The man in the green shirt above is Bassem Tamimi, proprietor of Tamimi Press and arguably the producer/director/screenwriter of the entire show, a weekly production as many know but which the working media rarely reveal. Green shirted Tamimi can be seen leading the march towards the staged "clash" with the IDF forces at the start of the Tamimi Press video of the Friday performance (here).

Those pictures above show the camera men pointing their lenses at a couple of children, plus women, who are shrieking, screaming and wrestling with an armed IDF soldier about, let's guess, eight feet from Bassem's face. 

Here's the thing: the little boy is his. The shrieking and cool-as-a-cucumber girl ("Shirley Temper") is his. One of the women is his wife

And what does Bassem do in the face of the violence that seems to have been inflicted on his family out of the blue and for no reason whatsoever, at all?

As the photos show, he remains out of sight and as inconspicuous as possible, away from where the cameras are pointing, on the perimeter. Not intervening for a moment, he's evidently making sure - as a director does - that the images are captured to plan. And then once captured, fired out into the battlefields of the newspapers, TVs and web screens of US and Europe and beyond, because for him this is cognitive war. He and his family are soldiers, and Europe and the US are the strategic goals.

Why should he intervene? It's fairly clear that, knowing what Bassem Tamimi knows from years of weekly charades like this one, he remains calm and unflustered throughout because he's well aware his family members are in no serious danger of anything other than slip-and-fall injuries. Syria, this is not. It's not even Ramallah

What this is, friends, is a minimum-risk operation, with a huge return on modest investment, underwritten via the willing collaboration of a host of camera-operators, reporters, headline writers and cable news presenters. 

People are going to be studying the lessons of this shabby, child-abuse-rich affair for years to come.

02-Sep-15: Plans of action and how Iran thinks like some Washington lobbyists do

Senator Mikulski looks on as President Obama signs an important document
that is certainly not an agreement with Iran since that has not been
signed by anyone [Archive photo source]
There are distinct whoops of triumph emanating from Washington today as Barbara Ann Mikulski, the senior Senator from Maryland, a member of the Democratic Party, steps forward to express support for the intentionally-unsigned pact ["29-Jul-15: Built not on trust but on... verification"] that the Islamic Republic of Iran entered into with the United States and some other countries a little over a month ago.

The significance of today's news:
The announcement means that at least 34 senators -- the number required by the Constitution to sustain a veto -- will back Obama's expected veto of a Republican resolution to disapprove of the deal. Mikulski is retiring at the end of her term. [CNN, September 2, 2015]
Now that a third of the Senate have told the news services how they are going to vote on probably the most important US foreign policy undertaking in living memory, the very carefully named JCPOA (not an agreement, not a treaty, just a plan of action) is being treated by everyone as a done deal, some sort of democratic achievement (or is it Democratic achievement?)

Everyone, we assume, thinks that having committed themselves publicly, none of these politicians will back down when the vote is taken in Congress in a few weeks' time, no matter what facts or additional secret side-deals may get revealed or brought to their attention in the meantime. Politics.

The head of a high-profile political lobbying group closely identified with the Obama administration emailed several friends of ours in the past couple of hours with a victory letter that includes this puzzling assertion:

Extract from a letter sent by this lobbying organization to supporters earlier today
It's clear that Jeremy Ben Ami, the author of those stirring words and the leader of the J Street people, is speaking of the Middle East. But even when you take account that he is sitting in far off, well-protected Washington DC, which part of the Middle East does he have in mind? He knows of some corner that has been transformed, presumably far from people's attention and news media enquiries, into a place where conflicts are being settled "through negotiations and diplomacy"? Does he mean Syria? Maybe Yemen? Libya? Iraq? Lebanon? We really do want to know.

Could he have composed this right after the celebratory toasts were drunk?

As it happens, Iran believes in plans of action, including the one the US Senate appears to have just pushed over the top. A report published today by the oddly-named PressTV, one of the Islamic Republic's numerous official, semi-official and regime-controlled mouthpieces, shows (see it below) that the Iranians actually think very similarly to some Americans. 

Or at least to Mr Ben Ami and his J Street crowd.

Iranian mouthpiece leads with this report today [Source]
But much, much more significantly, here's how some other Iranians see things. This is also from today.
Escalating Iran’s rhetoric against Israel, a senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed Wednesday that the regime would boost its military capabilities relentlessly until Israel was destroyed. “The Islamic Revolution will continue enhancing its preparedness until it overthrows Israel and liberates Palestine,” the IRGC’s Tehran province commander, Brigadier General Mohsen Kazzemeini, said in an address in Tehran, the semi-state Fars news agency reported. He also vowed that Iran would maintain its aid to those who fight Israel. "We will continue defending not just our own country, but also all the oppressed people of the world, specially those countries that are standing on the forefront of confrontation with the Zionists..."
In its report on Gen. Kazzemeini’s speech Wednesday, Fars recalled that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in an address to Tehran students last year, called for the “full annihilation and destruction of the Zionist regime.” On Tuesday, the commander of IRGC, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, threatened Israel, saying “its security will not be preserved” and asserting that the dangers posed to Israel were “growing greater by the day.”
The FARS source article ["Commander: Iran Continues Military Enhancement Until Collapse of Israel"] went online a couple of hours ago, just after the Mikulski announcement, by coincidence. Or not.

We think that neither a J Street response, nor any other meaningful plan of action emanating from Washington to address the naked threats of mass destruction by the nuclear-thirsting Iranians ought to be expected anytime soon. Or ever.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

01-Sep-15: Inbound rocket from Gaza announces new school year

Israeli schools go back this morning, which may be part of the reason for an inbound rocket alarm that sounded around 5:15 this morning (Tuesday) across southern Israel. For now, the thinking is that this one, like so many before it, was a Fell Short, doing damage to people or property on the Hamas side of the Gaza/Israel fence, but it's still early to know for sure. And if it does turn out to have crashed onto Gazan heads or farms or homes, it's highly unlikely we will be hearing details via anyone, least of all the terrorist regime that rules the area, of damage or pain.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the launch was done from Gaza's Beit Lahiya and the rocket was pointed in the general direction of the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon, but did not get there. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, said to be connected to ISIS, claimed "credit".

01-Sep-15: A tale of two villages: one devoted to non-violence, the other real and existing

The Tamimi boy from Nabi Saleh with his arm in a plaster caste, being
energetic and mobile in a screen-capture taken just moments before
he was photographed headlocked by an IDF soldier. 
The source is this video clip.
The events about which we wrote here on Sunday ["29-Aug-15: Revisiting a Palestinian Arab village and its monsters"] have triggered starkly contrasting reactions.

In one corner are those who see the villagers of Nabi Saleh as peace-loving, non-violent nobility, battling to preserve dignity and fields.

In the other, those who are left dumbfounded by the brazen manipulation of women and girls, naked child-abuse, and contrived exploitation of public opinion via the villagers' use of calculated provocations, staged clashes and strategically-placed photographers. Without the presence of those camera men, none of the drama would be happening.

Even if this were not the hamlet that spawned, encouraged, celebrated and then idolized the woman who planted a bomb (a human bomb) in a Jerusalem pizzeria in order to kill as many Jewish children as possible, and succeeded, we would surely have been in that first corner. 
Same boy, different circumstances some minutes later

We explained our rationale in a March 2013 post ["A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns"]. We wrote it in response to a cover story in the New York Times Magazine whose distortions, tendentiousness and adoration of murderous violence literally sickened us. We expressed our criticism in a letter to the editors at the New York Times who ignored us. We then found our own way to show our disgust; you can read about that here. We remain appalled and infuriated by some of the journalism we see them practice there.

Those who see only giants and heroes in that hateful little Palestinian Arab town probably share the view, typical of its kind, that asserts
the village is struggling for humanity, justice, peace and dignity, and... they need their freedom [via a far-left Israeli publication, yesterday]
But there are Arabic-language sources that tell us with far greater candor and clarity what really drives Nabi Saleh's Tamimis. Those Arabic texts naturally were never intended to be seen by people like us and those who read our posts. But web tools make them easy to find.

* * * 

Take for example Wikipedia's Arabic-language entry on Nabi Saleh. As we wrote here on Saturday night, someone doctored the Wikipedia text shortly after we first publicized it. Every reference to the village people's adoration of jihad, martyrdom and death to the Israelis was erased. But this past weekend, we found the original Arabic text as it had appeared on Wikipedia in May 2013. We saved the original Arabic text to here, and a partial English translation to hereThey are archived now thanks to the wonders of the Internet, and safe (we think) from the destructive attentions of those who feel compelled to re-invent the past. 

That deleted Wikipedia text is the village of Nabi Saleh paying tribute to its own viciously violent true self: to its warriors, to its killers, to its dead fighters, and above all to its favourite daughter, the one who smiles on-camera when she recalls how many innocent Jewish children she blew to pieces in the Sbarro pizzeria, our daughter Malki among them.

Virtually everyone in Nabi Saleh is a member of the Tamimi clan. That includes our daughter's murderer and the murderer's husband who is also her cousin - and also a convicted murder of Jews. And also freed in the catastrophic Shalit Deal four years ago. (They now live in Amman, Jordan). And also a hero of those self-proclaimed peace-loving, non-violent villagers.

* * * 

An expert on that form of terror, Dr Anat Berko who authored "The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers", offers some sharp and relevant observations in an interview published today in Algemeiner. Noting that Palestinian Arab society, like virtually every other part of Arab society, is patriarchal, she points out that they systematically use women and children as front-line combatants. And as so often happens with the actions of people lacking scruples and fundamental morality, it pays off:
[T]he West will always view women and children as non-combatants. This is why they are often used as shields for the men. We have seen this in violent demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza, where the men literally hide under the skirts of females. We saw it this week in the viral video of the IDF soldier being attacked by a group of females – even bitten by a girl – while he was trying to stop a Palestinian boy throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. Any wounds sustained by women and children are automatically viewed in the West as war crimes committed by Israel...
which is plainly true. But in reality, what is happening is that
the crime against these women and children is being committed by the leaders of their society – who raise them to know nothing but hate – and by the terror masters, who treat them like cannon fodderIn this ongoing war, what we call non-combatants are actually combatants... and women and children are their ultimate weapons, because the West sees them as innocents. [Dr Anat Berko in Algemeiner, August 31, 2015]
In the company of men: The Tamimi child is taken to Turkey
to be praised for her 'bravery', December 2012 - and groomed for
more of the same [Image Source]
The West, but not so much the East. The Tamimi child (the one widely known today as Shirley Temperwho features prominently in this past weekend's video, and in virtually every video issuing forth for years via Tamimi Press, her father's well-funded Nabi Saleh publicity machine, received an award for 'bravery' in Turkey in December 2012. She was thirteen years old:
Tamimi said she was proud to get the Handala award which would enhance her strength... Handala Courage Award, handed out by the Basaksehir Municipality, was named after the cartoon character Handala created by Palestinian cartoonist Naji Salim al-Ali noted for the political criticism of the Arab regimes and Israel in his works. Visiting Turkey as being the guest of Basaksehir Municipality of Istanbul, 13-year-old Tamimi attended a series of events ahead of the award ceremony and opened an art exhibition titled "Being children in Palestine". She thanked Turkish children for welcoming her as she was one of them, and called on the Palestinian children to stand tall, at the ceremony. [TimeTurk, December 27, 2012]
We're not so sure the children heard her. But the many middle-aged men in the photo above did. It's their will she is doing. She evidently pleases them.

* * *

How obvious is the ongoing abuse of women and children in bucolic Nabi Saleh? The answer is pretty clear in the video clips of Friday's staged confrontation. Take this video clip for instance. It's from Tamimi Press, the propaganda business operated by Shirley Temper's father,

At the start of the "clash", we see a group of mostly men, plus two or three women and girls setting off down the road to find the soldiers:

A few minutes later, it's men only as they launch into rock-hurling and sling-shot firing at the Israelis:

Then more of the same, with no women or girls to be seen:

And then finally, the now-gone-viral iconic scene of an IDF soldier, armed with lethal weapons that remain carefully under his control, suffering a biting- and manhandling-attack by women and children along with a freelance photographer:

So where are the rock-hurling, sling-shot-firing macho fellows, the men, whose manly voices are heard singing songs of triumph at the start of the video just a few minutes earlier? The men - where are the men? 

That's a question for the camera operator. If anyone knows what sort of image the global market needs to be fed, needs to buy, it's the camera person. And men are not part of it. You do what you need to do. This is war - that sort of war.

Nabi Saleh's children jubilant as they prepare to get back several
of their beloved convicted murderers, October 2011 [Image Source]
* * *

When the convicted and unrepentant mass-murderer Ahlam Tamimi, the architect of the Sbarro massacre and already a celebrity, was about to walk free in the Shalit Deal, the joyous public celebrations in Nabi Saleh featured prominently in media coverage. 

(Three other Tamimis, all males, all convicted of the vicious 1993 murder of Chaim Mizrachi, a man with whom they had friendly relations, all sentenced to life terms, were due to be freed at the same time. Two of them - Nizar Samir Mahmud al-Tamimi and Ahmad Yusuf Mahmud al-Tamimi were in fact let loose and returned immediately to Nabi Saleh as heroes. The third, Sa’id Rushdi Mohammad At-Tamimi, was released in a separate round of US-inspired terrorist releases two years later in December 2013. The connection of these three convicted Nabi Saleh killers to non-violence, dignity and human rights is somewhat unclear to us.)

Nabi Saleh, October 2011. The woman holding the portrait
of our daughter's murderer is the murderer's sister, Eftikhar
Tamimi [Image Source]
Four Nabi Saleh murderers freed long before serving out their sentences, and at the same time subverting Israeli justice - clearly a cause for celebration in villagers' eyes. The pretense of Nabi Saleh's ersatz devotion to non-violence was dumped for a while as the joy of seeing killers returned to their homes in triumph kicked in. See "The anthem of Nabi Saleh: “Release our prisoners or arrest us all”" for more background.

* * *

The repurposing of Palestinian Arab women, and especially girls, for terrorist warfare took on a new reality in the past few weeks. An Al-Monitor reports ["Hamas concludes first-ever military training camp for girls", August 1, 2015] on a summer training program that was opened up for teen-age females in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Called "First al-Quds Army Camp" it was created
to prepare academically exceptional girls aged 12-18 for the liberation battle of Palestine... Hamas has never organized a female training camp before. Around 1,000 girls attend the camp, which offered a special curriculum to resist the occupation taught by women affiliated with the Hamas movement. These women enjoy extensive military experience and know how to intellectually mobilize people against the occupation. Camp director Rajaa al-Halabi told Al-Monitor, "The goal of the First al-Quds Army camp is to prepare girls for self-defense and for future battles against the occupation." [Al-Monitor]
Dr Anat Berko naturally looks beyond the self-serving rhetoric of the Islamists who created it:
"Women in Palestinian society have always been abused; training them to become fighters along with the men is not an act of equality, but rather another form of abuse." Berko, who spent years interviewing would-be and actual terrorists in Israeli jails, has frequently pointed out that the terror masters and their dispatchers never send their own children on suicide missions. [The camp] is part of the wider campaign of Hamas and other groups to take advantage of and manipulate the population. "It is the socialization of kids through terror,” she said. “It is child abuse, plain and simple. But where is the international outrage about it?" [Algemeiner]
There's no good answer to her question. Billions of dollars flow annually into the coffers of global child-protection and children's rights organizations like UNICEFDefence for Children InternationalUNESCOChild Rights International Network, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Washington-based Jerusalem FundSave the ChildrenArab Council for Childhood Development and others.

Strangely, the Islamist regimes and the terrorist training they inflict on the children fated to live under their boots routinely get ignored by all of them. Why? Because.

(We have written about this ongoing Arab child-abuse tragedy several times: "24-Jan-13: Sacrificing the lives of an entire generation of adolescents on their altar of hatred, the thugs of Hamas boast of plans to create a children's army"; "10-Feb-15: The Islamists of Gaza: Yet again preparing children to kill and be killed" and "12-Feb-15: It's Red Hand Day. Do you know where the children are?" The information we pulled together is open source and available to anyone who wants to find it.]
Among the last of the photos we have of our murdered
daughter is this one from the few days she spent in
August 2001 being a camp counselor to special-needs

* * *

Our daughter Malki, whose life was stolen from us when she was the same age as little Shirley Temper is today, spent most of her last week of life at a summer camp too, as
a volunteer counselor at a summer camp for children with developmental delays and special needs. The camp takes place each summer in the north of Israel, and involves many hundreds of participants from all parts of the country. It's organized by Etgarim, an association with some lovely people running it. Malki and her friend Rachel traveled up north without being sure they would be accepted as volunteers. They were, in the end, and Malki came back from there smiling from ear to ear. She loved everything about it. She was murdered a few days afterwards, and we heard most of the stories we know about that camp from the other counsellors and the organizers... ["11-Aug-06: Good and evil"]
Malki's mother Frimet wrote this nine years ago:
During the five days they were there assisting the counselors, Malki's gentle, caring way touched everyone. Many of the people associated with Etgarim travelled long distances to comfort us during the Shiva - one trekked all the way from Kiryat Shmona at Israel's northernmost edge and back in one day, a four hour drive each way-and related incredible stories to us about Malki.
One of the counsellors who had supervised her remembered the farewell chat he had conducted with the volunteers the night before their return home. When he asked each of the volunteers to stand up and tell the group what they viewed as the most important feature of their stint, they all emphasized the importance of and satisfaction gained from giving to others. Malki was the last one to speak. We were told that she was the only one who spoke of what she had gained - of the happiness she had experienced in working with the children. ["27-Nov-06: Today Would Have Been Our Daughter's 21st Birthday"]
We're thinking still of Malki's gentle smile, and struggling even now with the fact that she will never reach her sixteenth birthday. And trying to make sense of the summer camps, role-models and futures our neighbours have created for their children.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

29-Aug-15: Revisiting a Palestinian Arab village and its monsters

Nabi Saleh this past Friday [Image Source: Daily Mail UK]
Imagery in the service of jihad, mayhem and chronic
child abuse
There's a media fuss about images [here] of an Israeli serviceman tangling with "a little boy" in a Palestinian Arab village. The Daily Mail UK, one of the busiest online news sites, gave it very considerable attention on Friday here, correctly linking it to the particular form of image exploitation defined by Prof. Richard Landes as Pallywood
the alleged media manipulation by Palestinians to win public relations war against Israel [Daily Mail UK, today]
This short video clip of the same interaction provides a little more helpful context.

People not-so-much-in-the-know are unlikely to realize that the published photos are a small part of a larger, orchestrated event of the kind that happens in Nabi Saleh every week. Local press people know this because of the weekly invitations they get to come along and provide coverage. But most news consumers don't know that. They have no reason to understand - or to care about - the context and the larger picture.

Back in March 2013, we wrote ["A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns"] about several of the people who appear prominently in today's photos: about their town; about its systematic abuse of its own children; about how a place hell-bent on acts of lethal violence directed against Jews and Israelis has succeeded in camouflaging itself thanks to the willingness of gullible reporters, photographers and editors who provide them with the exposure they crave like oxygen; about the girl - the one in the pink t-shirt in the photo above - who for years has been paraded in front of the cameras in a variety of spunky-on-demand poses (all based on the certainty that IDF personnel are required to be careful and considerate when facing children - this isn't Syria, Ramallah or Gaza) and who has fully earned the nickname given to her by insightful observers who understand the artificial nature of the provocations in which she is the central performer. They know her as Shirley Temper: it's a totally fitting stage name.

From our March 2013 post
That article remains the most viewed post we ever wrote. But most news consumers unfortunately have no idea of the points we made and are making now. The mainstream news reports didn't tell them.

We went back to the contents of that 2013 post tonight in light of what happened on Friday. And we were struck by something interesting that unfortunately we failed to notice much earlier. Here's part of what we said in 2013:
The Wikipedia entry for Nabi Saleh describes the village of some 550 people in notably gentle terms. Centred on an old religious shrine to the prophet Shelah whom we encounter in Genesis as the son of Judah and grandson of the patriarch Jacob, it was a hamlet of a mere five houses in the late nineteenth century when the Turks ruled the area. It grew slowly under the Jordanian military occupation that started in 1948; then declined when Israel took control of the West Bank in 1967, and flourished and multiplied in the past two decades. Today, it’s the scene of weekly protest demonstrations and, to judge from Wikipedia’s English-language version, a place where things are done to passive inhabitants and for no apparent reason. Now if you go to the Arabic-language version of Wikipedia, you see a quite different emphasis. It's not at all a direct translation of the English version. It's created by different people for a different audience and different sensibilities. The Arabic Wikipedia entry depicts Nabi Saleh as a place of “popular resistance” that boasts of having taken a prominent role in two Intifadas, providing “hundreds of prisoners” and 17 so-called “martyrs on the altar of freedom”... The most prominent of the prisoners (Wikipedia's description) is a woman called Ahlam. Her surname is shared with almost every other inhabitant of the village: Tamimi
(That woman is the convicted murderer of our daughter Malki. Often described as an "escort", she was in reality the chief planner of the massacre at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria on August 9, 2001. She personally brought the bomb to the site that she had selected, and fled before the explosion. She lives free as a bird today in Amman, Jordan, from where she makes weekly TV propaganda programs encouraging more acts of terror. Her chilling demonstrations of pleasure at the deaths of her victims, and in particular the children she killed, have given her the status of an iconic figure in the social media of both sides.)

If you go to the Arabic Wikipedia entry for Nabi Saleh today, you will see only a small fraction of what we saw then. Every single reference to the village people's adoration of jihad, martyrdom and death to the Israelis has been erased. The place is filled with virgins all over again.

This seems unfair to us, so we went digging and - bless the Internet and its boundless resources - found the original Arabic text as it appeared on Wikipedia in May 2013.
  • We have now saved the original Arabic text here
  • For those without an online translation capability to do Arabic-to-English, here is the same page rendered into English courtesy of Google Translate.
Friends of Israel, and of objective and accurate news reporting, understand well that the negative, visceral impact of powerful imagery - irrespective of whether it is stage-managed or altogether faked - is powerful and often unstoppable. The Tamimis of Nabi Saleh know this better than most and act on it. Their abuse of children, truth and the global news media channels will certainly continue because... it simply works.

UPDATE: Here's a longer video of Friday's Nabi Saleh production courtesy of the Tamimi publicity enterprise. And another here. The IDF service men we see clearly have the power, the skill, the strength and the weaponry to do something dramatic and long-lasting to stop the unpleasantness to which they are exposed in this stage-managed eruption of violence. They choose to avoid rising to the locals' provocation, handing the provocateurs a publicity gift, but ensuring the patient men and women of the IDF will continue to face the same kind of challenge in the coming days in Nabi Saleh - as they have for years already.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

27-Aug-15: Sometimes a knife attack is more than just a knife attack

President Mahmoud Abbas sharing the triumph of freshly-released Palestinian Arab terrorists, all of them
convicted, unrepentant murderers - and proclaims them heroes. AFP image from August 14, 2013
How people with power deal with terrorism gets our attention to an extent that some might find surprising. It should not be hard to see why. We have learned that being wrong on how to deal with terror has serious life-and-death consequences. Terrorism has become very personal to us.

Something happened here in Jerusalem last night that has again triggered our need to be heard on the subject.

A young Israeli was stabbed. He is in hospital as we write this, getting treated for knife injuries as a result of an attack on Wednesday evening. That's when (according to Ynet)
a Palestinian man attempted to attack a group of border guards near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. The guards managed to overpower the Palestinian, who stabbed one of them in the leg, wounding him lightly. The suspect was arrested. The wounded policeman was taken by ambulance to Hadassah Medical Center. The suspect in the attack is a 56-year-old resident of Hebron, who does not have a permit to enter Israel... [Ynet, today]
No ordinary "Palestinian", this Hebronite has a stunning back-story. Times of Israel says his name is Muammar Ata Mahmoud, and that he
was released in 2013 as part of an ultimately unsuccessful round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority... [Times of Israel, today]
Peace talks? No, not exactly. As The Daily Beast pointed out in August 2013:
The prisoners were freed as an inducement for the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, to participate in the peace talks. Since 2009, Abbas has said he would participate in negotiations only if Israel stopped settlement activity after President Obama imposed the condition on Israel in the first year of his first term. But Abbas has moderated his position at the behest of Secretary of State John Kerry... Some families of victims of prisoners who have been released in the past are now seeking a meeting with Kerry to explain to him what they see as the dangers of pressuring Israel to release to release Palestinians from prison... [The Daily Beast, August 14, 2013]
So was Abbas induced? Again, not exactly. In fact, Abbas himself explained that the freeing of 104 convicted terrorists, absurdly labeled "Pre-Oslo prisoners", all of whom were serving unfinished prison terms for involvement in acts of terrorism-related murder, mostly against Jews and Israelis, actually had nothing to do with that:
...Mahmoud Abbas told a visiting group of (Israeli) Meretz MKs in Ramallah on Thursday… that the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails was unrelated to the launching of the peace talks. ["25-Aug-13: Wake up call for those who thought the terrorists are walking free for peace"]
Don't blame Times of Israel's writers and editors for being wrong on this. Almost everyone was during those dark days of 2013. Over and again, the freeing from Israeli prison cells at the urgent and insistent behest of the US government and Secretary of State John Kerry (though his staff denied this from start to finish) of convicted, unrepentant murderers was said to be for peace - to jump start the peace talks, to show compromise in the name of peace, to trigger a peace eruption.

But not us:
“We don’t see this as a step towards peace,” Arnold Roth, one of the Israelis who helped organize a letter to the secretary of state, told The Daily Beast. “The objection is to the madness of positing the peace process on the prior release of murderers. We support a peace process.” Roth has some experience with the pain of seeing the killer of a loved one go free. His daughter, Malki, was killed in Aug. 9, 2001, in the bombing of a Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem. One of the planners of that attack, Ahlam Tamimi, who also broadcast the bombing for Palestinian television from Ramallah, walked free from multiple life sentences in 2011... [The Daily Beast, August 14, 2013]
Two weeks after that, reflecting on how those convicted, unrepentant killers of Jews were received as heroes in Ramallah, their arms held high by Mahmoud Abbas, we wrote here:
Israel's prime minister, in deciding to let the mis-named Pre-Oslo prisoners loose and thereby lifting Abbas's stocks among the Palestinian Arabs, did his calculations the way politicians do. He had a small number of options... The one he chose - freedom for 104 convicted terrorists - must have seemed to him and others in the cabinet as the least bad of several undesirable alternatives. And if this meant the victims of the terrorists would feel betrayed (we can imagine them saying in the cabinet room), so be it. Regretfully, a greater good is served. But speaking as victims of Palestinian Arab terrorists ourselves, we see it this way: justice was trampled, lives and sacrifices were demeaned, public opposition was ignored. In turning a deaf ear to the protests of the victims, our politicians threw down onto the negotiating table the cheapest, most disposable, of the cards in their hand. Not for the first time, we find ourselves saying that decisions like this one will be the cause of much long-term regret. ["27-Aug-13: Justice devalued, lives demeaned, principles cheapened: the high price of freeing murderers"]
It would be nice to think that there are political leaders with backbone, moral fibre and some conscience who might be thinking about regret at this moment. A politician willing to admit to having regrets could be someone worth knowing.

The man who stabbed a young Israeli man last night next to Damascus Gate and the walls of Jerusalem's Old City is the convicted murderer of Professor Menachem Stern.

Prof. Menachem Stern,
murdered in 1989
[Image Source]
Prof. Stern was a renowned historian, a member of Israel's prestigious National Academy of Sciences and Humanities. On the morning of June 22, 1989, he was briskly striding through Jerusalem's Valley of the Cross as he did nearly every day on his way to work at the Jewish National and University Library on the Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus. That day, he encountered this same Muammar Ata Mahmoud, equipped - as he was yesterday - with a knife. Mahmoud and an associate stabbed the historian for reasons that probably made great sense in terms of the savage blood lust and the terrorist creed to which the attackers subscribed. Prof Stern died of his injuries.
A group of first-graders, out for a walk with their teacher, found his body alongside one of the paths. The police came to Professor Stern's house on Tchernichovsky Street, and brought his wife, Hava, with them to the Valley of the Cross to identify the body. The police commander told Hava that he had had the privilege of studying with Professor Stern when he was a student at the university. Thousands came to the funeral, held at the Hebrew University... [Blog of Rabbi Carl M. Perkins, August 6, 2013]
One murder by knifing is never enough if you are that kind of human being. Hence the attack last night, made possible by a chain of awful political decisions based on self-serving logic and a fundamental lack of respect for principles of justice. (Yes, we did say justice - now please read what we said on that subject at the time: "25-Jul-13: Justice and morality and struggling to be healed from the bereavement disease"; and "14-Aug-13: Making 'peace' by celebrating the murders of children and of Holocaust survivors" and "27-Aug-13: Justice devalued, lives demeaned, principles cheapened: the high price of freeing murderers".)

Naturally that's not how it's going to be reported in the news. But it's the truth.

We noted at the top of this post how being wrong on terror has consequences. In that spirit, here is a reminder of an opinion piece Frimet Roth wrote for Times of Israel who published it on December 26, 2013. Less than a week later, yesterday's knife man - the murder of the famous historian - walked out of his Israeli prison cell, free, along with more than two dozen other sociopaths .

Some extracts from "Mr Netanyahu, how’s that working for you?":
Here we go again. The next tranche of terrorist murderer releases is five days away. Most Israelis will pay it no attention. True, polls show that 91% oppose it in principle but it takes more than principles to nudge Israelis off their couches...
We expect that when a prime minister experiments with a new “strategy” – which is what Netanyahu has labeled the releases – he will assess its efficacy at some point.  A drastic move like this – discarding judicial verdicts in favor of a Prime Minister’s preference – demands that. In short, the question that begs asking is: “How’s that working for you, Mr. Netanyahu?” Or, to be more precise: “How’s that working for your people?" ...Have they won Obama’s support against Iran? The releases may even have doomed Netanyahu’s campaign to galvanize the West behind his tough stand on Iran. Netanyahu committed a travesty of justice that those states would never in their wildest dreams entertain. World powers would have rallied around a firm Israeli prime minister. But a spineless leader who crosses his very own red line against releasing terrorist murderers demonstrates that all his ultimatums are shams.
Has it endangered Israelis? Do released terrorists return to terror?
Reports abound of terrorism’s resurgence in the West Bank. Much of it is orchestrated by Hamas – until now considered exclusively Gaza-based...
Bereaved parents grieve until the day they die. Bereaved parents who watch their children’s murderers walk free, grieve and seethe until the day they die.
But we will protest this upcoming release with no illusions.  Netanyahu, who has refused to meet with, speak to or even write to us, is impervious to reason.  He is a junkie of European and American kudos.  And for that coveted pat on the back from Kerry, Merkel, Hollande and co., Netanyahu is emasculating our justice system and destroying our democracy... [Frimet Roth writing in Times of IsraelDecember 26, 2013 - the article appeared less than a week before the release of the convicted murder who carried out yesterday's knifing attack]
Has it endangered Israelis? Do released terrorists return to terror? We have more questions like those. Getting political figures to address just these two could be a constructive start towards stemming the ongoing damage.